‘Most Transparent Administration Ever™’—Obama Administration Makes Mockery of Open Government

By: Monday March 17, 2014 11:25 am

The Associated Press conducted its annual review of government data related to the Freedom of Information Act. It found that the “government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.”

Declassified History Provides Remarkable Look at NSA Operations During the Cold War

By: Thursday September 26, 2013 9:30 am

A National Security Agency history of intelligence activities during the Cold War has been further declassified. For the first time, the names of a few of the people who were on a watch list operated by the NSA have not been withheld. The history also contains various details that are exceptionally relevant to the debate around US intelligence and privacy that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden ignited.

Circumventing Transparency: Pennsylvania’s Latest Shell Game to Protect Big Energy

By: Sunday May 26, 2013 5:20 pm

David M. Jacobson wanted a transcript of a public hearing conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), May 2.

All Jacobson had to do was drive the 25 miles from his home in Lewisburg to the Williamsport regional office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Supreme Court Affirms Constitution Doesn’t Guarantee Citizens Access to Public Information

By: Tuesday April 30, 2013 10:20 am

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that Virginia did not have to grant access to public records in the state to non-residents of Virginia under the state’s freedom of information law.

The decision, according to SCOTUSblog, did not break any new ground. It did not “rely upon any sweeping new legal declaration, but simply on the purpose that the Court found behind Virginia’s law.”

Chicago Public Schools’ Ban of ‘Persepolis’ Continues to Face Challenge From Anti-Censorship Alliance

By: Friday April 12, 2013 12:26 pm

An alliance of nonprofit organizations committed to promoting freedom of thought and free expression has been challenging a decision by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to ban Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis. It has also sought more information on what led to the decision by filing Freedom of Information Act requests.

Court Rejects Justice Department Effort to Enshrine Catch-22 Into Freedom of Information Law

By: Wednesday April 3, 2013 1:05 pm

A federal appeals court in Washington, DC, rebuffed a clear attempt by the United States Justice Department to further pervert the Freedom of Information Act process.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on May 24, 2011, when it failed to produce documents on individuals at the FEC, who CREW believed were refusing to enforce campaign finance laws. The lawsuit challenged the withholding of the documents and also the Justice Department’s interpretation of a rule in freedom of information law that requires agencies to communicate a “determination” on whether it will comply with the FOIA request within 20 working days.

Public Comments on Keystone XL Pipeline to Be Kept Secret by State Department

By: Thursday March 28, 2013 4:00 pm

A Web-based electronic docket is setup for public comments on the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline before the State Department makes the final decision on whether to approve the project. But, the comments themselves are not going to be available online for the public to access and read, according to John Smith of Inside Climate News.

First Female Head of CIA’s Clandestine Service Signed Off on Destruction of Torture Tapes

By: Wednesday March 27, 2013 12:10 pm

One week before John Brennan assumed office as CIA director, a woman was put in charge of the CIA’s clandestine service. It was the first time in the history of the agency that a female officer was running the agency. But, according to the Washington Post, the officer was one of two CIA officers, who signed off on the destruction of torture tapes in 2005.

The Post reports the woman served in a senior position at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center after the September 11th attacks. She was in the chain of command for the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program (RDI).

The CIA recorded brutal interrogations of prisoners with a video camera in a secret prison in Thailand. Over ninety tapes were ultimately recorded.

Who Are the Guantanamo Prisoners Not Being Prosecuted But Who the Obama Administration Refuses to Release?

By: Tuesday March 26, 2013 5:10 pm

According to the lawsuit filed on March 15, Rosenberg “stressed that these records were ‘time sensitive’ and were sought in order to produce a report on a ‘breaking story [that] has generated wide public interest.’ Moreover, Plaintiff stressed the importance of reporting on this matter quickly so that the public can engage with their newly-elected government on the underlying policy issues involved.” She requested expedited processing.

The Pentagon had twenty days to respond to her request under freedom of information law. Yet, between December 31 and February 5, the Pentagon failed to respond to her request and claimed no exemptions under FOIA to withhold the requested records.

White House Still Disingenuously Presents Release of Visitor Logs to Public as Transparency Achievement

By: Friday March 15, 2013 1:01 pm

The administration of President Barack Obama, when boasting about Obama’s record on openness and transparency, regularly cites how it is now releasing White House visitor logs. It has been an “achievement” the administration explicitly mentions during Sunshine Week, a week where journalists and open government advocates celebrate transparency in government.

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