From friends who work for the federal government in this area, I know that many of the agency computer systems are screwed up. But it seems that the Department of Justice has one which is so fragile that the mere act of copying a file could crash it. According to the tech-savvy folks over there, honoring a Freedom of Information request for a list of foreign lobbyists "risks a crash that cannot be fixed and could result in a major loss of data, which would be devastating". (Maybe it’s time the DoJ traded in their old VIC-20s on something more modern.)
It really shouldn’t be hard to figure that the problem here is political rather than technological. Little Johnny Ashcroft just doesn’t want to share any of his data.