When Left and Right Complain about Lack of Transparency

It's for Your Own Good

You know it’s ugly when the President’s own friends join with the right in trying to prevent the implementation of a new policy permitting federal agencies to lie to the public about the very existence of documents.  The Washington Examiner is reporting that the American Civil Liberties Union and Judicial Watch are both coming down hard against the Obama administration for its proposed DOJ regulatory change that would permit the denial that a document exists, making it no longer subject to a FOIA request, other than to say it does not exist.  The Obama administration through its lackeys at justice are promising this would only be used in a few limited circumstances, but both the ACLU and Judicial Watch are calling this nonsense.  It’s only a matter of time before such a policy would be abused to the inestimable detriment of the American people, and it should be prevented.

They both make a strong argument that this would effectively shield some government operations from judicial review, and this is a dangerous precedent to set, and they suspect it will lead to eventual abuse.  I concur.  The problem in these matters is that in almost every case, such rules could be extended to cover almost anything, and this would lead to abuses of a whole new dimension.  Judicial Watch is concerned that this could be used to justify further obfuscation on White House visitors logs, and they have every reason to believe it.  From the article, Chris Farrell, director of investigations for Judicial Watch notes:

“Every day,” Farrell notes, “the Obama administration misrepresents and conceals the true, complete record of who is going in and out of the White House — all the while proclaiming themselves champions of transparency. It’s truly Orwellian.” The proposed new rule could add a patina of legality to the refusal to acknowledge the existence of the visitors logs as White House documents. Despite its flaws, FOIA is one of the few checks on excessive executive branch power. It should not be weakened by Obama’s proposed “license to lie.”
This is indisputably true.  Every request of the White House is met with more obfuscation, and it’s a dangerous progression.  For a President who has repeatedly claimed to be concerned with transparency, this is merely another indication that such claims are mere political posturing, with no substance behind them.  In truth, it’s fitting for an administration so thoroughly superficial in all its pronouncements.
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