Bush signs bill to expand government transparency

US President George W. Bush signed a bill aimed at giving the public and the media greater access to information about what the government is doing. The new law toughens the Freedom of Information Act, the first such makeover to the signature public-access law in a decade. It amounts to a congressional pushback against the Bush administration's movement to greater secrecy since the terrorist attacks of 2001. The legislation creates a system for the media and public to track the status of their FOIA requests. It establishes a hotline service for all federal agencies to deal with problems and an ombudsman to provide an alternative to litigation in disclosure disputes.