DHS: Taking the "Public" Out of Public Affairs

October 5, 2011

It may not be the best way to communicate with the news media. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially keeps the phone numbers of all its press officers secret.

Federal Times reporter Andrew Medici got so frustrated that he filed a Freedom-of-Information-Act request for the names and phone numbers of all DHS press officers. When he finally got the 58-page list of names, the agency had blacked out all the work phones, cell phones, and e-mail addresses.

DHS includes many agencies – ranging from the Coast Guard to the Federal Emergency Management Agency – often called by environmental reporters.