Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Your not-so-public government

A reporter recently wanted to call the Public Affairs staff of the Department of Homeland Security but the agency would not give him the phone numbers.

Prince Albert II of Monaco.

So the reporter, Andrew Medici of Federal News, filed a Freedom of Information Act request. Again, Homeland Security refused to give out the numbers, this time citing a part of the law that protects federal workers against "unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."  Note that he was simply asking for the work numbers.

See Medici's story here.

I have a hard time imagining why any work phone numbers for public employees should be kept secret, much less those for workers in public affairs.  What are they afraid of? That a taxpayer will call up and – gasp! – ask a question?  

But wait, you say, what if terrorists get a hold of those numbers?  Well, OK, what if? What are they going to do, call up and ask, "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?"

Of course, since this is the Department of Homeland Security, it's possible they do have Prince Albert in a can.

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