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1 Obama Closes Doors on Openness on Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:59 pm

rosco 357


Veteran
Obama Closes Doors on Openness
Michael Isikoff
NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Jun 29, 2009

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding "secret energy meetings" with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's "clean coal" policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged "presidential communications." The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig's office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a "new era" of openness, "nothing has changed," says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. "For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies."

The hard line appears to be no accident. After Obama's much-publicized Jan. 21 "transparency" memo, administration lawyers crafted a key directive implementing the new policy that contained a major loophole, according to FOIA experts. The directive, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, instructed federal agencies to adopt a "presumption" of disclosure for FOIA requests. This reversal of Bush policy was intended to restore a standard set by President Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno. But in a little-noticed passage, the Holder memo also said the new standard applies "if practicable" for cases involving "pending litigation." Dan Metcalfe, the former longtime chief of FOIA policy at Justice, says the passage and other "lawyerly hedges" means the Holder memo is now "astonishingly weaker" than the Reno policy. (The visitor-log request falls in this category because of a pending Bush-era lawsuit for such records.)

Administration officials say the Holder memo was drafted by senior Justice lawyers in consultation with Craig's office. The separate standard for "pending" lawsuits was inserted because of the "burden" it would impose on officials to go "backward" and reprocess hundreds of old cases, says Melanie Ann Pustay, who now heads the FOIA office. White House spokesman Ben LaBolt says Obama "has backed up his promise" with actions including the broadcast of White House meetings on the Web. (Others cite the release of the so-called torture memos.) As for the visitor logs, LaBolt says the policy is now "under review."
URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/202875

2 Re: Obama Closes Doors on Openness on Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:07 pm

SSC


Admin
I saw on the news they are refusing to release any guest name that is coming to the White House.
So much for transparency. That promise didn't last 8 months.
Wonder what they have to hide...

3 Re: Obama Closes Doors on Openness on Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:45 pm

rosco 357


Veteran
SSC wrote:I saw on the news they are refusing to release any guest name that is coming to the White House.
So much for transparency. That promise didn't last 8 months.
Wonder what they have to hide...

many things pll like congressmen can use to stop or use in the news on new laws being crafted, i have no idea, but given so many talking heads on tv, he may just want to keep some thing low profile, but i really have no idea, i dont see anything that will be totally hiden but things that will come to light when all the ts are crossed and i's doted, but actually i dont know, and some may be national security, i think he made statements before he was elected, because he did not have a clue how things have to be actually ran, take care,



Last edited by rosco 357 on Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

4 Re: Obama Closes Doors on Openness on Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:58 pm

gypsy


Moderator
rosco 357 wrote:
SSC wrote:I saw on the news they are refusing to release any guest name that is coming to the White House.
So much for transparency. That promise didn't last 8 months.
Wonder what they have to hide...

many things pll like congressmen can use to stop or use in the news on new laws being crafted, i have no idea, but given so many talking heads on tv, he may just want to keep some thing low profile, but i really have no idea, i dont see anything that will be totally hiden but things that will come to light when all the ts are crossed and i's doted, but actually i dont have a know, and some may be national security, i think he made statements before he was elected, because he did not have a clue how things have to be actually ran, take care,

A very good response Rosco,I like that~I agree wholeheartedly

5 Re: Obama Closes Doors on Openness on Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:35 pm

SSC


Admin
From what I heard it has been a custom to release a guest list to the media, this has gone on thru many administrations, recently a news media requested the customary list and was denied stating the change in policy..
Guess it is his ball and he can take it and go home when ever he wants. Just seems a little odd all his transparency hype is going down the tubes. I am sure other administrations were selective on the name list but to block the whole thing is a might bit strange ..

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