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The Noncommittal Glomar Response: Depriving the Public of the Right to Know Whether Public Records Exist


The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)2 “is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed.”The New Jersey Supreme Court,in discussing the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA),4 has proclaimed that “our government works best when its activities are well-known to the public it serves.”5 Yet, when public records that invoke national security concerns are at issue, courts have often given deference to the government and, at times, have permitted the utmost levels of secrecy.

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