The New York Times will today obtain more than 12,000 pages of material relating to the response to the 9/11 attacks from the Fire Department of New York, including a written log of radio transmissions made on the day.

The Times forced the City of New York to release the material using new York’s freedom of information law request in 2002. It is only now being released after a lengthy court battle. In the meantime, some of the material has already been leaked to the Times.

Let this be a lesson to British journalists who are already complaining about how much persistence it takes to see results under Britain&squo;s new FOIA laws. The big story may take some time and is no substitute for developing “unofficial sources”.