Saturday, January 24, 2009

Will Presidential Transparency Push Finally Shine Light on Controversial Decision to Impose Import Restrictions on Coins of Cypriot Type?

The Obama Administration has taken steps to provide the public with more information in response to FOIA requests. See:

The above McClatchy report quotes Scott Hodes, the attorney representing the ACCG, IAPN and PNG in their FOIA lawsuit against the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and its Cultural Heritage Center. That lawsuit primarily seeks information about the controversial decision to impose import restrictions on coins of Cypriot type.

Mr. Hodes has detailed information about the Obama Administration's presidential memorandum on his own blog. See:

Hopefully, the ECA will take a cue from President Obama's memorandum and now release in unredacted form many of the documents that have to date been withheld in whole or in part in response to the ACCG-IAPN-PNG FOIA lawsuit. What has been released so far raises more questions than answers about the ECA's decision making process and how it has been shaped by behind the scenes coordination with advocates for the archaeological community and Greek Cypriot interests groups. Hopefully, the Obama memorandum will force the State Department to shine some light on what appears to be a rather shabby process that has reeked of cronyism.

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