The Obama Administration, that came to power with the promise of historic transparency, has reversed course and begun censoring more public records than at any time since President Barack Obama took office.
The U.S. government, led by the Pentagon and CIA, censored or withheld for reasons of national security the files that the public requested last year under the Freedom of Information Act more often than at any time since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new analysis by The Associated Press.
Overall, the Obama administration last year answered its highest number of requests so far for copies of government documents, emails, photographs and more, and it slightly reduced its backlog of requests from previous years. But it more often cited legal provisions allowing the government to keep records or parts of its records secret, especially a rule intended to protect national security.
And that’s when they admit they even have the documents.
The administration cited exceptions built into the law to avoid turning over materials more than 479,000 times, a roughly 22 percent increase over the previous year. In many cases, more than one of the law’s exceptions was cited in each request for information.
Given the Obama Administration’s war on whistleblowers and leaks (well unless they do it) this study by the Associated Press is deeply troubling. The administration has committed itself to running a shadow government when it comes to security policy that has now drifted into censoring even benign information for fear it could prove to be embarrassing.
Overclassification of government documents was already a problem before President Obama came to office – one he pledged to solve by running an open and transparent government. But now it seems that Obama has decided to dump his campaign promises and adopt the Bush Administration’s view of government – by the powerful, for the powerful, and keep the public in the dark.