Surprise! Obama administration defies more FOIA requests than Bush WH

posted at 2:50 pm on March 16, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

These days, I’m considering adding a keyboard macro to start off posts with, “Remember when Barack Obama promised more transparency and open government?”  Raw Story reports on the advance of Hope and Change in yet another “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” moment from Obama.   Turns out that George W. Bush was relatively transparent compared to his successor:

One year later, Obama’s requests for transparency have apparently gone unheeded. In fact a provision in the Freedom of Information Act law that allows the government to hide records that detail its internal decision-making has been invoked by Obama agencies more often in the past year than during the final year of President George W. Bush.

Major agencies cited that exemption to refuse records at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, compared with 47,395 times during President George W. Bush’s final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies.

An Associated Press review of Freedom of Information Act reports filed by 17 major agencies found that the use of nearly every one of the law’s nine exemptions to withhold information from the public rose in fiscal year 2009, which ended last October.

The AP review comes on the heels of another bit of government transparency news: that the Obama Administration has threatened to veto a congressional intelligence bill because it objects to efforts to increase intelligence oversight.

Among other things, the proposed legislation would subject intelligence agencies to General Accountability Office review. US intelligence agencies are currently immune from review by the Congressional auditing office.

Critics would do well to remember that government often has good reason to keep sensitive information out of the public domain.  After all, we’re fighting a war in Afghanistan as well as battling global terrorist networks.  Furthermore, the executive branch has a right to solicit advice on policy, and it can’t get good, honest advice if the people being asked believe that their consultations will get plastered all over the New York Times.  While the government tends to default too often to secrecy no matter which party occupies the White House, those issues are valid still.

Of course, conservatives do remember all of this.  We recalled it when Obama made a fetish of Hope and Change on the campaign trail, and called the Bush White House the most secretive in American history.  Instead of acting responsibly on this issue (as he begrudgingly did on the Patriot Act extensions in June 2008), Obama elected to demagogue on it instead, casting himself as a knight in shining armor unlocking the dungeons of a tyrant.

Now, such denials have increased by 49%, and that’s not counting whether overall requests have increased or decreased.  Let’s try to guess: would the press be making more inquiries during Obama’s term in office than Bush’s, or fewer?  To their credit, Raw Story has that data, too:

All told, the 17 agencies reviewed by AP reported getting 444,924 FOIA requests in fiscal 2009, compared with 493,610 in fiscal 2008.

Not just fewer, but over ten percent fewer requests.  Putting those numbers together, the Bush administration had a denial rate of 9.6%.  The Obama administration has a denial rate of 15.9%.   Which President promised more transparency?  And why is the press 10% less interested in the inner workings of government now than it was in 2008?


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LIAR.

portlandon on March 16, 2010 at 2:53 PM

And why is the press 10% less interested in the inner workings of government now than it was in 2008?

Given all the layoffs in the last year and a half, isn’t it possible that there’s 10% less press now than there was in 2008?

WesternActor on March 16, 2010 at 2:53 PM

How’s that hopey, changey stuff working out for ya?

rbj on March 16, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Cheney and Rove have a Baracky voodoo doll and they’re diabolically preventing Comrade Zero from running the most transparent administration, evah!

Cicero43 on March 16, 2010 at 2:54 PM

“Shut up”, he explained.

kingsjester on March 16, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Now, such denials have increased by 49%, and that’s not counting whether overall requests have increased or decreased.

doesn’t that equate to 3,000% more transparency?

Sure does on my Stalin Model CCCP calculator….

ted c on March 16, 2010 at 2:54 PM

proportions is hard……

ted c on March 16, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Surprise? I think you caught that “unexpected” bug.

Daggett on March 16, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Anyone who complains about the administration denying requests for info should be arrested.

/Penn off

29Victor on March 16, 2010 at 2:56 PM

“I Won”….the American people lost…

PatriotRider on March 16, 2010 at 2:56 PM

I think i’m becoming more disgusted with our media. Never thought that would happen.

deidre on March 16, 2010 at 2:56 PM

No no… I’m sure if this is true I would’ve read about this on Slashdot and Mother Jones and Rawstory… those defenders of my civil liberties and government abuse…

/s

Skywise on March 16, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Maybe he should hire Sean Penn as his Transparency Czar…

PatriotRider on March 16, 2010 at 2:58 PM

I would like to save troll space by saying someone else did it/and or something similar/ or entirely dissimilar but something else too. Therefore whatever this is was done or not done before but is now excused by fiat. Carry on.

batterup on March 16, 2010 at 2:58 PM

I have a feeling that if the American people knew what was actually going on behind the closed doors of the Obowma Administration…

… there would be an armed revolt.

Seven Percent Solution on March 16, 2010 at 2:58 PM

The ACLU was quoted as saying, “zzzzzzzzz.”

Cicero43 on March 16, 2010 at 2:58 PM

It’s just how communists roll.

Lie, deceive, steal … rinse and repeat.

darwin on March 16, 2010 at 2:58 PM

I think someone just fainted. Just give em some room.

kahall on March 16, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Geez guys, if you’d have just let him finish his waffle I’m sure he would have kept this promise.

Scrappy on March 16, 2010 at 3:01 PM

What?

Still no story on the Ohio fainter?

C’mon. This is a great story…is anyone looking into it?

Background:

A Rush caller said she was at the rally and the person in question never fainted. The person was dragged out by the cops for daring to disagree with the man formally known as “The One.”

Rush has audio that seems to bolster her story…

Dorvillian on March 16, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Smell the Change ™

Mason on March 16, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Don’t you get it, Ed?

HE WON!

KeepOhioRed on March 16, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Freedom of Information Act

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/FreedomofInformationAct/

canopfor on March 16, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Yet another unforced error. Substandard…the conduct of this administration on every level has been substandard. Especially in the areas of domestic policy dearest to my heart: technology, copyright, and disclosure/transparency. Entirely full of sh*t. Now if only the GOP offered some sort of alternative on this front…

ernesto on March 16, 2010 at 3:05 PM

You know what this means: Cheney’s Secret American Gulag System was never closed down, it just went under new management.

Bishop on March 16, 2010 at 3:06 PM

But the number of FOIA denials actually dropped by 3000%!

year_of_the_dingo on March 16, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Dorvillian on March 16, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Here’s the video of the fainting episode.

Knucklehead on March 16, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Which President promised more transparency? And why is the press 10% less interested in the inner workings of government now than it was in 2008?

Awww c’mon. It’s no secret. It takes secrecy for Obama to enact his complete takeover of this government. Once that is accomplished, watch for the burning of the constitution as a celebration!

capejasmine on March 16, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Hmmm. Could this be a worldwide phenomenon?

Tim Blair:CODE OF SILENCE

zmdavid on March 16, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I’m shocked! Shocked I tells ya!

Vntnrse on March 16, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Knucklehead on March 16, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I don’t have speakers on this computer, but I did hear the audio on Rush. However, from watching that, I could pinpoint Obama pointing out to the crowd. I’m sure that’s the point where he mentions someone fainting?

What really caught my eye was the faces behind Obama. No looks of concern. Some smiling, and smirks, and whispering to each other….but no concern. What a bunch of cretins! They see a guy getting dragged out by police, for daring to oppose Obama, and they think that’s amusing?

capejasmine on March 16, 2010 at 3:13 PM

They see a guy getting dragged out by police, for daring to oppose Obama, and they think that’s amusing?

capejasmine on March 16, 2010 at 3:13 PM

A shoe in the face for all of them. Obama, please come to my town.

Electrongod on March 16, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Hey, the campaign is over!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPsbV-IvLDU

Hawthorne on March 16, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Obama sez: “Yep, we hope you like the change to a dictatorship!”

Hawthorne on March 16, 2010 at 3:23 PM

The most transparent aspect of the Obama administration are their false boasts and/or promises of transparency.

darii on March 16, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Yet another unforced error. Substandard…the conduct of this administration on every level has been substandard. Especially in the areas of domestic policy dearest to my heart: technology, copyright, and disclosure/transparency. Entirely full of sh*t. Now if only the GOP offered some sort of alternative on this front…

ernesto on March 16, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Ernie, my boy, we don’t agree on much, but you are precisely correct on this one. I know you’re not about to jump ship -ever- to our side, but the failings you cite translate to both parties.

Doorgunner on March 16, 2010 at 3:36 PM

What is there to find out? We won.

/the media

LibTired on March 16, 2010 at 3:36 PM

You lie and so do your press corpsemen , the national lamestream media .

borntoraisehogs on March 16, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Which President promised more transparency?

Well, Obama is more transparent. You can see right through him. A lot of people, though, are having problems due to their blinders.

malclave on March 16, 2010 at 3:46 PM

But but but…this is different!

bikermailman on March 16, 2010 at 3:48 PM

A bona fide liar

bluegrass on March 16, 2010 at 3:55 PM

These are not the war-manipulating crypto-marxists you’re looking for.

Move along.

profitsbeard on March 16, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Wanna know where his “transparency” started?

http://butterdezillion.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/red-flags-in-hawaii-2/

justincase on March 16, 2010 at 4:00 PM

zmdavid on March 16, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Hawaii’s House Judiciary Committee has a hearing today – after giving a maximum of 8 hours’ notice to anybody wanting to submit testimony – on whether to gut their version of FOIA by allowing a government agency to blacklist people (including those in the press) who ask uncomfortable questions.

The testimony I submitted is at http://butterdezillion.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/judiciary-committee-testimony/

justincase on March 16, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Obama slam-shuts the door on Hope & Change! Get out!

I’m starting to feel badly for the people who wasted their votes, got suckered into a big farce. It’s a pattern of broken promises (and lies).

TN Mom on March 16, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Where’s the Birth Certificate?

Mr Purple on March 16, 2010 at 4:15 PM

justincase on March 16, 2010 at 4:06 PM

I read something recently that gives a perhaps more plausible explanation than Obowma being born elsewhere: Frank Marshall Davis is his actual father. The short of it being that Davis dabbled in pr0n with young white women, had access to Ann Dunham, she was a budding Commie, he was a long standing one. She gets preggers by him, and the Barack Senior story is….more palatable. This would provide a lot of reason for the stonewalling.

bikermailman on March 16, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Baracky voodoo doll

Cicero43 on March 16, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Wait! You just may be on to something there. . .

dts-01 on March 16, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Sources: Administration Has Top Secret Transparency Plan http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/10/sources-administration-has-top-secret.html

Mervis Winter on March 16, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Now if only the GOP offered some sort of alternative on this front…

ernesto on March 16, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Hmmm. You have the makings of a Tea Party member. I believe the goal of the Tea Party is to force one of our Parties to be honest… get on board the train ernesto! You can have your say in building the New Republican Party!

petunia on March 16, 2010 at 5:02 PM

bikermailman on March 16, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Just about anything is possible at this point. If there was an issue with paternity, though, it wouldn’t have to show up on a birth certificate because they normally create a supplemental birth certificate and seal the embarrassing one.

What’s clear is that the DOH is in on the cover-up if not on the actual perpetration of the forgery. The jury’s still out on that, but we’ll see.

justincase on March 16, 2010 at 5:16 PM

When I point out this hypocrisy to my Cool Aid/Kool Menthol smoking/drinking leftist relatives they’ll be silenced for once – & then only briefly. But those few seconds will be sweet!

BHO Jonestown on March 16, 2010 at 5:18 PM

When these idiots realise that they’ve lost most of their freedom under this ‘gentleman’ it’ll be too late. Then again, these people seem to relish being told what to do, when to do it, etc so perhaps I am wrong.

All I know is that, for me, I’m going to refer to the 2nd Amendment on such matters…..

Huey Long is supposed to have said: “When fascism comes to America it will be called anti-fascism.”

Dick Turpin on March 16, 2010 at 8:03 PM

I have a feeling that if the American people knew what was actually going on behind the closed doors of the Obowma Administration…

… there would be an armed revolt.

Seven Percent Solution on March 16, 2010 at 2:58 PM

You have your finger on the pulse.

Blacksmith8 on March 16, 2010 at 9:41 PM

I’m stunned.

Cylor on March 17, 2010 at 1:22 AM