US censored or withheld record number government files: report
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The U.S. government in the past year has censored, withheld or said it was not able to obtain a record number of documents and information sought by journalists more than at any point in the last decade, according to an Associated Press analysis.

The AP also reports that over the past decade people who requested records under the Freedom of Information Act got censored documents or nothing in 78 percent of the 823,222 requests, marking another record.

The outlet notes that the federal government spent a record $40.6 million in legal fees last year in defending its action to withhold the records.

The government said it found nothing 180,924 times when responding to requests and cited U.S. laws as a reason not to release information another 63,749 times.

The report found that the government said it found information but was withholding it in 4.3 percent of cases. 

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Many of the requests were reportedly related to the ongoing probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling.

The analysis gives some insight into how the Trump administration adheres to the Freedom of Information Act. 

The administration told the AP it received a record number of information requests last year and said it was directing agencies to be more efficient in processing and responding to requests.

The report comes at the start of Sunshine Week, a week when journalists celebrate the public's right to know and have access to information. News organizations use the week to push for transparency and freedom of information.

Under the law, the U.S. government can be compelled by citizens to turn over copies of federal records for no or little cost. Anyone who seeks the information is supposed to be able to obtain it unless the information would hurt national security, violate personal privacy, or expose business secrets or confidential decisionmaking in certain areas, the AP reported.