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Obama Administration Failing To Meet Transparency Pledge With FOIA Requests

In an age of intense government secrecy one of a citizen’s few tools to gain access to government information is the Freedom of Information Act passed in 1966. But it seems the Obama Administration, despite promises of historic transparency, is not reasonably complying with FOIA requests.

Bloomberg News last year asked for the details of out-of-town trips for the heads of 57 major departments in fiscal 2011, a test of President Barack Obama’s pledge to run the most open government in history. As of July 12, about one-fifth of those surveyed hadn’t responded.

The State Department is one of five Cabinet offices that have yet to fully comply with requests under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose the details and expenses of official travel more than a year after they were filed.

If the war on journalism and whistle-blowers was not bad enough, now the Obama Administration is not even complying with transparency laws already on the books.

The Justice Department, which is responsible for monitoring compliance with the open-government law, took more than one year to comply even though Attorney General Eric Holder has called swift responses to public records petitions an “essential component” of government transparency. Following repeated queries, the agency provided travel vouchers and then the costs of the trips last week…

The response rate to Bloomberg’s travel survey is “appalling,” Anne Weismann, chief counsel for Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, said in an interview.

Apparently the only one entitled to privacy in Obama’s America is the government.

As the public learns more about the government’s role in invading their privacy with NSA programs like PRISM it is worth keeping in mind that the government officials defending and implementing the Surveillance State are completely opposed to any such invasion of their own privacy. In fact, they do not even want to comply with pre-existing oversight requirements such as FOIA. Rank hypocrisy as the ruling class wants one set of standards for themselves, and one standard for everyone else.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.