Monday, June 15, 2009

FOIA Own Good

The National Archives last week named attorney Miriam Nisbet to be the first federal ombudsman for the Freedom of Information Act [5 U.S.C., sec. 552] ("FOIA").

Created by the Open Government Act of 2007, the ombudsman position is empowered to mediate disputes between those seeking information pursuant to the FOIA and the government agencies receiving the requests. The ombudsman is also charged with evaluating how agencies comply with FOIA requests and recommending changes to the Congress and the president.

Nisbet, 61, most recently served as Director of the Information Society Division at UNESCO, which entailed issues of global access to information and digital libraries. Previously, she was legislative counsel at the American Library Assn. for eight years, and also worked 16 years at the Dept. of Justice as deputy director of the Office of Information & Privacy.

Nisbet, a graduate of the Univ. of North Carolina Law School, hopes to have the National Archives ombudsman office up and running in September 2009.

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