Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Transparency and the Lack Thereof

One of the early proclaimations of the Obama Administration was that it would be the most open and transparent Administration, particularly in comparison to the previous Administration.  However, in reality, this Administration has been far from open and transparent in many of it's actions and operations.  In fact, one can write quite extensively, as others have, on the hypocrisy of this Administration when it comes to openness and transparency in its decision making processes as well as in it's operations.

One of the most troubling Departments within the Obama Administration is the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder.  Ranging from the unexplicable (except for the political motivations) decision to drop voter intimidation charges against several members of the New Black Panther Party from their actions in Philadelphia on Election Day, 2008, to the Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning initiative and the resulting cover-up, to the politicization of the DoJ by exclusively hiring hard left ideologues (in the hundreds) for key branches of the DoJ (as exposed in this first of a series from PJ Media), the DoJ has been at the forefront of offering decisions that demand investigation and oversight.

Throughout all of these investigations and exposes of DoJ missteps, critical to the delivery of information about these missteps, was the use of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by journalists and bloggers.  Even with these steps, and those via subpoena by Congress, the DoJ has been reluctant to provide information.  PJ Media needed to take the DoJ to court to gain the data for their series on DoJ hiring practices.  Thousands of pages of information provided to Congress are effectively useless because they are severely redacted.  Other requests are simply ignored by DoJ officials.  But despite the efforts to hide compromising information, valuable insights into the mismanagement of the DoJ has come to light.

These revelations have created additional challenges for AG Holder, officials in the DoJ, and even reaching to the White House.  However, rather than embrace the announced intent to be the most open and transparent Administration, the DoJ today is announcing proposed new rules that will enable them to withhold documents from FOIA requests if they deem the documents as being sensitive in nature.

From the above link....
"A longtime internal policy that allowed Justice Department officials to deny the existence of sensitive information could become the law of the land -- in effect a license to lie -- if a newly proposed rule becomes federal regulation in the coming weeks.

The proposed rule directs federal law enforcement agencies, after personnel have determined that documents are too delicate to be released, to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests "as if the excluded records did not exist." "

This decision runs contrary to any concept of transparency and openness.  Rather, it reflects a knee-jerk decision that is a belated effort to bring to a stop any effort towards the Administration being accountable and responsible to the public for their decisions and actions. 

As opposed to stopping the decisions and actions that create political firestorms, the hubris and arrogance of this Administration is to award themselves the ability to hide materials that expose not only bad decisions, but criminal decisions.

Bad policy is not corrected by implementing more bad policy...but that seems to business as normal for this Administration.

No comments:

Post a Comment