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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Texas DPS Ordered to Release Protective Detail Info

The Texas Department of Public Safety must release to the public travel information about Gov. Rick Perry's protective detail, a state district judge ruled Friday.

Judge Scott Jenkins found no evidence that releasing the records would place Perry or anyone else in imminent danger.

Two news companies had sued DPS for access to the documents. They were requested last year under the Texas Public Information Act by reporters from the Austin American-Statesman as well as the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, both of owned by Hearst Newspapers LLC.

The newspapers reported the judge's decision online Friday.

"This is a very good day for public disclosure," said Matthew Baumgartner, an attorney for the newspapers' publishers. "If a basic accounting document can be restricted on security grounds, there's no limit to what can be withheld."

The requested documents contain travel expenses for the state troopers who accompany Perry and his family on trips, including trips that are not official state business.

In a hearing before Jenkins, DPS argued that releasing the information would compromise the safety of the governor, his family and others who travel with them because it could provide useful details to someone trying to do them harm.

More here.

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