Go on, tell me you’re surprised. I dares ya. I double dog dares ya.
The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.
The administration cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. Most agencies also took longer to answer records requests, the analysis found.
The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that half way through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records despite its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.
In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.
They now censor or deny more than half of all requests. Now, to be fair, the record number of denials and censored records is a result of a record number of requests. However, the reason we have a record number of requests is because of the immense secrecy with which this Administration drones American citizens, drones other people, spies on us and screws up on foreign policy.
I appreciate that national security concerns sometimes trump our right to know. But this Administration has a track record of claiming national security to cover up idiocy, such as when they tried to hide that they’d put a wheelchair-bound academic on a terror watch list due to a typo. We have at least two rogue agencies in Washington: the CIA was spying on Congress and the NSA chief flat-out lied to them. No government ever has the right to say, “Just trust us.” That goes double for an Administration that has repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be unworthy of our trust.
At some point, I think we may want to move the FOIA process outside of the executive or apply a more stringent and straight-forward judicial review. National Security can not be a duck blind with which to cover up incompetence, malfeasance and constitutional abuses. There is a clear conflict of interest here.