From Lawfare– Case Closed: The Justice Department Won’t Stand Behind Its Report on Immigrants and Terrorism

Editor’s Note: Case Closed, really?  It should be noted  that notwithstanding the precedent-setting accomplishments of the plaintiffs that five years hence the report will continue  to  be available in its uncorrected form on the DoJ website unless the plaintiffs file for judicial relief. [ CRE has not reviewed the report in detail and consequently is addressing this matter solely as a procedural–not a substantive– issue under the Data (Information) Quality Act; CRE’s interest is in demonstrating that a court can review the denial of a DQA petition ].

The short-term victory of DoJ admitting it disseminated inaccurate information but not changing its report to reflect such a finding will have a short shelf life; consequently the meritorious work of the plaintiffs  should continue because unless the report is corrected it remains  a federal policy determination made in response to an Executive Order.  To this end one of the plaintiffs has concluded: “While it is encouraging that the DOJ took the rare step of acknowledging substantial mistakes in an official pronouncement, its refusal to correct the mistake means that a misleading report remains publicly available and serves as an official endorsement of the Administration’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim narrative.”   [ Protect Democracy is the plaintiff that provided the attorney of record.]

Never in the history of the Data [Information]  Quality Act has an agency admitted that it disseminated erroneous information and subsequently refused to correct it; this is low hanging fruit for judicial review. Whether or not one agrees with the merits of the plaintiffs petition the long term consequences of establishing the reviewability of the IQA  outweighs short-term hesitations.  The aforementioned petition has the highest chance of establishing judicial review of the IQA since its passage nearly twenty years ago.  Mr. Wittes  encyclopedic post below presents more than ample evidence to support a successful challenge.

Mr. Wittes of Lawfare   concludes:

Let me confess at the outset that when Berwick, who has represented us in the matter and some accompanying litigation, approached me about the idea of an IQA petition, I was skeptical. I agreed to be part of it not because I thought the department would likely acknowledge error but because Protect Democracy was representing me in all of the FOIA litigation described above, Berwick clearly wanted to give this a try, and I thought the petition might be a good way of establishing a strong factual record of how the Trump administration was abusing data. I was very wrong. The results are pretty astonishing.


The following are the encyclopedic views of  Mr. Wittes:

Don’t look now, but the United States Department of Justice just came perilously close to admitting that it engaged in disinformation about immigrants and terrorism in a formal government report.

I say perilously close, because the department did not quite admit it; in fact, the letter sent to a group of people, including me, who had raised concerns about a report the Justice Department published last January, announces that the department has concluded that “the Report should not be withdrawn or corrected.”

Read  the complete article.


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