The Center for Public Integrity filed a Freedom of Information request to get a copy of the Foreign Agent Registration database, which includes information on activities by registered lobbyists on behalf on foreign governments.
The Justice Department said that it couldn’t provide a copy of the entire database because doing so could destroy the database.
Meanwhile, you can go to the appropriate office in Washington DC and pay fifty cents a page to make copies of documents. The information is available in (expensive) page-by-page drips, but not as a whole.
I am curious to learn about the quantum database software in use that could subject the data to changes by reading it. Or perhaps the 8 inch floppies that the data is stored on would get too hot and melt if they had to spin so fast to copy entire files?
How far short does a government information system have to fall beneath its legally mandated requirements in order for there to be severe consequences for those who are supposed to be managing the information system?