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Watchdog group sues US government for personnel records

[JURIST] A nonpartisan group that tracks the records of federal government personnel has sued the Bush administration for withholding the names and job information of about 900,000 civilian employees. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) [official website] filed a complaint [PDF text] Tuesday under the Freedom of Information Act [text; OPM FOIA website]. TRAC alleged that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) [official website] has failed to provide the names of civilian employees of the Defense Department and some 150,000 other employees since October 2004 and has also failed to explain why. Since 1989 TRAC, a research group based out of Syracuse University, has posted information online about the 2.7 million federal civilian employees, including work location, salary and job description; the data is used by reporters and watchdog groups to monitor government policies and abuses. An OPM spokesperson refused to comment on the lawsuit. Information about government employees has been publicly available since a register was first developed in 1816. TRAC has a news release on the suit and its correspondence with OPM [PDF text]. AP has more.

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