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EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE/DISSENTING OPINION
3/29/2008 8:21:26 AM

Bids, contracts

There is also the category of government information that is confidential while the deliberative process of agency executives is on-going, but becomes public information once an agency decision or action is taken. Thus, a committee that evaluates bids of government contracts has a right to keep its deliberations and written communications confidential. The purpose of the deliberative process privilege is to give agency executives freedom to discuss competing bids in private without outside pressure.

However, once they take a definite action, like deciding the best bid, their deliberations and written communications form part of government records accessible by the public.

Confidential information under the deliberative process privilege is different from the President’s executive privilege. Military, national security, and diplomatic secrets, as well as Presidential communications, remain confidential without time limit. The confidentiality of matters falling under the President’s executive privilege remains as long as the need to keep them confidential outweighs the need for public disclosure.

Then there is the category of government information that must be kept temporarily confidential because to disclose them immediately would frustrate the enforcement of laws. In an entrapment operation of drug pushers, the identity of the undercover police agents, informers and drug suspects may not be disclosed publicly until after the operation is concluded.

However, during the trial, the identity of the undercover police agents and informers must be disclosed if their testimony is introduced in evidence.



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