The Washington Post

Obamacare Web site not the only one malfunctioning


The calamitous Obamacare Web site is not the only government Web site malfunctioning these days.

Seems the Freedom of Information Act site (foiaonline.regulations.gov), that is  used by a number of smaller federal agencies — and had been used until recently by the Treasury Department — has also been down since the middle of last week, according to “Andrew” on the site’s  help desk. (He said they don’t give out last names.)

For now, visitors are greeted with a message advising: “We are experiencing technical difficulties and we are working to resolve them. We appreciate your patience as we work to keep the site operating at peak performance.

The FOIA online Web site, which went up about a year ago, appears to be having a problem with the server, Andrew told us. “It got slow,” and restarting it didn’t work, and finally “it got so bad we had to take it down,” he said. Naturally, it’s unclear when all this will be worked out.

The move to electronic FOIA has been promoted by open-government groups and the Obama administration as a way to improve media, citizens and business access to government documents. And, when it is functioning, it can do just that.

In the meantime, folks trying to get electronic FOIA  info from agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Customs and Border Patrol, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others will have to sit tight — or go back to the days of paper.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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