SPEARHEADING SOCIAL REFORM
Fighting for Freedom of Information
Ever willing to fight unwarranted government secrecy in the courts, the Church of Scientologys litigation with various US government agencies has established legal precedents further empowering the citizen with his right to monitor his government.
In May 1991, for example, a federal court in the United States credited the Church, in a case it brought against the Internal Revenue Service, for helping bring about significant reform. Furthermore, the court stated, communications between the IRS and the Church indicate that this litigation contributed to the IRS decision to review its procedures and that resulting improvements in these procedures will enable better handling of over 1,000 cases involving identical legal issues.
In another precedent-setting case of broad value, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the National Security Agency could not simply assert that it was unable to locate records in response to a Church FOIA request. The court ordered the agency to conduct new searches, stating, in part, If the agency can lightly avoid its responsibilities by laxity in identification or retrieval of desired materials, the majestic goals of the act will soon pass beyond reach.
In yet another case, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted Freedom magazines motion to require the IRS to produce a detailed and specific index of records being withheld by the agency, rather than merely listing them out by general category.
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