New DoJ rule a license to lie?

posted at 2:05 pm on October 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama campaigned for office on the promise to bring more transparency to government.  He pledged to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act; the White House web site published Obama’s memo on FOIA compliance, which commanded the executive branch to follow this principle:

The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.

Those are indeed laudable words.  However, as we know, actions speak louder than words, and an effort to create a new rule for the Department of Justice shows what the Obama administration actually thinks of openness and transparency:

A longtime internal policy that allowed Justice Department officials to deny the existence of sensitive information could become the law of the land — in effect a license to lie — if a newly proposed rule becomes federal regulation in the coming weeks.

The proposed rule directs federal law enforcement agencies, after personnel have determined that documents are too delicate to be released, to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests “as if the excluded records did not exist.” …

Justice Department officials say the practice has been in effect for decades, dating back to a 1987 memo from then-Attorney General Edwin Meese.

In that memo, and subsequent similar internal documents, Justice Department staffers were advised that they could reply to certain FOIA requests as if the documents had never been created. That policy never became part of the law — or even codified as a federal regulation — and it was recently challenged in court.

Yes, this practice has existed for almost 25 years, but it was offensive then and is offensive now.  Besides, which presidential candidate promised to end business as usual by bringing “change” to Washington — change explicitly tied to transparency?

The ACLU remembers which candidate that was.  The DoJ reopened comments on the rule proposal, and the ACLU ripped the Obama administration in a submission:

When the new comment period began, the American Civil Liberties Union became one of the most vocal critics of the proposal. Mike German, Policy Counsel with the ACLU, authored a lengthy letter in opposition.

“It’s shocking that you would twist what is supposed to be a statute — that’s supposed to give people access to what the government is doing — in a way that would allow the government to actually mislead the American public,” German told Fox News.

Shocking?  Yes.  Surprising?  Not really.  After watching this administration railroad an independent Inspector General just months after taking office for flagging a sweetheart deal with one of Obama’s political allies, refuse to answer questions about the dismissal of a voter-intimidation case in Philadelphia that they had already won, and finally circle the wagons over Operation Fast and Furious, it’s no surprise that this crowd believes they need a license to lie.  This administration has been all about nondisclosure in the “effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve.”

Words.  Just words.

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OT: Occupy Phoenix has a privately funded Nazi militia with machine guns

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Change you can believe in…

Thanks again 52%ers!!

Khun Joe on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Reopening the public comment period is at least a good sign that DOJ may realize the proposed new rule would be a bridge too far.

acasilaco on October 27, 2011 at 2:19 PM

OT: Occupy Phoenix has a privately funded Nazi militia with machine guns

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Predicted Occupy Phoenix response – “This just shows that we’re bringing people from both sides of the political spectrum together!”

teke184 on October 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Justice Department officials say the practice has been in effect for decades, dating back to a 1987 memo from then-Attorney General Edwin Meese.

^^ Weasel Words.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

“… it’s no surprise that this crowd believes they need a license to lie.”

It’s almost like they think they will be in power for ever…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on October 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

We all know that the Obama administration lies. This just proves it without a shadow of a doubt.

milwife88 on October 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

So please tell me why records are also sealed concerning JFK & MLK?

Miscreants.
ALL of them.
Where’s whats-his-face to stuff some more docs downs his pants?

Badger40 on October 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Justice Department officials say the practice has been in effect for decades, dating back to a 1987 memo from then-Attorney General Edwin Meese.

That’s the same practice as claiming that certain information was released to the public “by a source in the White House who requests to remain anonymous.”

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Hey! Let ME invoke Godwin’s law now.
You know. I do recall there were some judicial rulings like this coming down from judges sympathetic to Hitler.
It allowed Hitler to grab all the power he wanted.
Bcs of things just like THIS!

Badger40 on October 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Predicted Occupy Phoenix response – “This just shows that we’re bringing people from both sides of the political spectrum together!”

teke184 on October 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

National Socialists?

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Still waiting for Speaker Boner to follow through on his pledge to defund the DoJ.

Mike Honcho on October 27, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Mike German, Policy Counsel with the ACLU, authored a lengthy letter in opposition.

And now the Germans are lecturing us about transparency in government. This is how far we’ve fallen.

MadisonConservative on October 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM

OT: Occupy Phoenix has a privately funded Nazi militia with machine guns

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Is that sarcasm?!? I listened to the guy (your link) and he doesn’t sound at all like “a Nazi”. For whatever his political association may be, however, what’s taking place only miles away across our Southern border and on it is good cause for any public protest in the vacinity there (in that case, Phoenix, Arizona) to be accompanied by armed persons. It’s not far-fetched, is my point.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Is that sarcasm?!? I listened to the guy (your link) and he doesn’t sound at all like “a Nazi”. For whatever his political association may be, however, what’s taking place only miles away across our Southern border and on it is good cause for any public protest in the vacinity there (in that case, Phoenix, Arizona) to be accompanied by armed persons. It’s not far-fetched, is my point.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM

In September 2007, Ready marched under a swastika banner in Omaha, Neb., with brown-shirted members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) [supporters of OWS], a group he would later join.

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:32 PM

OT: Occupy Phoenix has a privately funded Nazi militia with machine guns

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Though if they ARE “privately funded,” those guys who the one guy interviewed was ‘team leader’ of, I missed that. My impression from that link/video was that they were citizens who showed up due to obvious concerns of law and order or potential to riot on/near the border.

Did he say (and did I miss) some statement whereby he says they’re “privately funded” BY “Occupy Phoenix”?

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM

In September 2007, Ready marched under a swastika banner in Omaha, Neb., with brown-shirted members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) [supporters of OWS], a group he would later join.

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Oooohhhhhhhh, O.K., that second link changes everything. His, uhh, “political affiliation” is not mentioned in that video link.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:34 PM

OT: Occupy Phoenix has a privately funded Nazi militia with machine guns

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

How the hell did you get “Nazi” out of that video, much less a militia funded by Occupy Phoenix? Are you familiar with the political attitude down in Arizona? There are a number of groups like this, mostly focused on border policy and gun rights. Your description is horrifically misleading.

MadisonConservative on October 27, 2011 at 2:34 PM

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Okay…again…nothing in the video you posted mentioned Nazi ideology, nor was there any indication that they are Nazis, Aryans, White Nationalist/Supremacists, etc. The guy’s history certain indicts him as an individual, but doesn’t indict the cameraman, the other members in his organization, or even Occupy Phoenix.

MadisonConservative on October 27, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM

In September 2007, Ready marched under a swastika banner in Omaha, Neb., with brown-shirted members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) [supporters of OWS], a group he would later join.

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Oooohhhhhhhh, O.K., that second link changes everything. His, uhh, “political affiliation” is not mentioned in that video link.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:34 PM

EXCEPT that second link is to the Southern Poverty Law Center and to them, everyone’s a “Nazi” who isn’t a Marxist/Communist/Democrat/Socialist/”Colored Person”.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM

This man is a dictator.

stenwin77 on October 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

1. Allow government to withhold information from its citizens to allow it to do whatever illegal act it wishes (This rule change)
2. Be critical of the legislative branch, and circumvent it whenever possible. (Obama’s current legislate by executive order scheme.)
3, Spread the meme that the president is one of the common folk, and that he only is working for the people. (Current class warfare)

Obama is attempting to consolidate power in the executive branch, diminish the legislative branch, and stack the judicial branch in his favor. Textbook national socialist moves. If we get around this election and Obama remains… it might well be our last.

AverageJoe on October 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM

You’re not really going to try to defend J.T. Ready are you?

Dude is a pretty well known Neo-Nazi.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

OWS Nazi: “The Jews are the true racial supremacists”

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Is that guy at BOTH OWS *and* now in Phoenix?

There are bad seeds like that in all kinds and races and groups and populations, colors and shapes and countries. The more they speak out, however, the easier it is to avoid them.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM

You’re not really going to try to defend J.T. Ready are you?

Dude is a pretty well known Neo-Nazi.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Oh, please, OF COURSE NOT, of COURSE I’m not trying to defend such a person as that.

I’m just not an expert in who is “well known Neo-Nazi” material and who isn’t and I’ve never heard of that guy until I just followed “faraway”‘s links here to try and figure whattheheck he was sharing in O/T content on this thread.

Taken one at a time by a person uninformed about Neo-Nazis by name and face (which would be me, for example), the links “faraway” posted didn’t make real sense in and unto themselves and I just asked my questions as I followed the links one at a time.

But the Southern Poverty Law Center is a Marxist/Communist organization engaged intensely in the politics of race-baiting and I would never take anything that “Center” had to say except with a big grain of salt.

Which isn’t to say that that guy, who YOU know by name and I don’t, isn’t a “Neo-Nazi,” just that I don’t understand how the assumption is being made here by “faraway” that Occupy Phoenix hired and/or is paying the guy.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Dude is a pretty well known Neo-Nazi.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

But isn’t it curious that YOU know who he is and I don’t? I mean, you’re asking ME if I’m “defending” him (no, as already stated I’m not), but I’ve never heard of him before while you consider him “well known.”

So, just a curious observation.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Glad to hear that.

I thought you were going to dismiss info about him because it came from SPLC. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

——————–

J.T. Ready is one of the founders of the “National Socialist Movement.” STRONG WARNING ABOUT THIS LINK

Jeff Flake went to bat against this guy back in 2008.

He resigned from NSM to form his BorderGuard Movement, he’s still a large figure in neo-nazism.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:01 PM

the assumption is being made here by “faraway” that Occupy Phoenix hired and/or is paying the guy.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:51 PM

I didn’t say OWS was paying this guy. You made that up.

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I just hate Nazis. It’s an area where I see eye to eye with SLPC and ADL.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:09 PM

This is infinitely worse than mere lying.

This is a complete lack of accountability to the American public.

Everything that a free nation’s government is supposed to be, this administration is not.

logis on October 27, 2011 at 3:10 PM

the assumption is being made here by “faraway” that Occupy Phoenix hired and/or is paying the guy.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:51 PM

I didn’t say OWS was paying this guy. You made that up.

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 3:05 PM

@ faraway:

Here’s what you wrote:

OT: Occupy Phoenix has a privately funded Nazi militia with machine guns

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

With the link going to a video shot at Occupy Phoenix. It can be reasonably assumed from that statement of yours and the link you included in that statement that it was Occupy Phoenix (or “someone private” otherwise associated with Occupy) who was “privately funding” that guy, his companions…

It does appear you’re suggesting that Occupy Phoenix is somehow associated with if not responsible for “funding” that “private Nazi” bunch, per your presentation on this thread.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Yeah, but this is only for the current administration. As soon as there is a Republican administration again (if ever) then we’ll go back to the old FOIA… /s

yubley on October 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

OH. . .I almost forgot, he was dishonorably discharged from the Corps for theft, assault, AWOL, and failure to obey a direct order.

All of that came out when Flake went after him.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Lourdes, I may have inartfully worded my initial post. I see what’s happening now.

The Nazi “militia” group is not funded by OWS, that we know. He says they are “privately funded”. Not sure by who/m.

The leader is a Nazi. The group is “guarding” the OWS protesters. The leader says they will use “deadly force” to protect the rights of the OWS protestors.

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I just hate Nazis. It’s an area where I see eye to eye with SLPC and ADL.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:09 PM

I’ll give ADL some due, if not more of it, but SLPC is way into Leftwing hyperbole about seeing “Nazis” and “fascists” and “racists” under every bed, behind every White person (especially those of us of Northern European ancestry) and throughout most of what they refer to as “White America.”

It’s not an honorable organization and should never be granted any seriousness by anyone as to serious issues such as actual ethnic supremacy — which SPCL labels everywhere except on itself.

The ADL, however, well, I take the ADL seriously but on individual statements. Overall, I believe their heart is in the right place and their minds not skewered as are those responsible for SPCL.

My only reservation about ADL, however, was once when I visited their website, I saw a major complaint there whereby they claimed that any declaration of “OY!” was an indication of a closet or covert White Supremacist. I laughed and cried at the same time because people have been saying “OY!” as an exclamation for CENTURIES without so much as a reference to anything more than a thumb struck by a hammer or a bowl of spilled milk.

So even ADL can get lost in hysterics sometimes, which is why I say it’s wise to take them on a case-by-case basis only.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Lourdes, I may have inartfully worded my initial post. I see what’s happening now.

The Nazi “militia” group is not funded by OWS, that we know. He says they are “privately funded”. Not sure by who/m.

The leader is a Nazi. The group is “guarding” the OWS protesters. The leader says they will use “deadly force” to protect the rights of the OWS protestors.

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Yes, I understand now, too, and appreciate your follow-up comments there ^^. OY! Ha…

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM

All of that came out when Flake went after him.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

I don’t know who “Flake” is and have never heard of him before.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Jeff Flake? http://flake.house.gov

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:23 PM

All of that came out when Flake went after him.

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

THIS “Jeff Flake”?

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Jeff Flake? http://flake.house.gov

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:23 PM

THIS “Jeff Flake”?

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Our comments crossed in the comment stream.

Lourdes on October 27, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Yeah, that Jeff Flake. He’s a not so minor player in the Republican caucus.

http://hotair.com/?s=Jeff+Flake

Jason Coleman on October 27, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Way to hijack a thread.

The topic is “Does DOJ need a license to lie?”

I say, “Why get a license when DOJ can lie for free?” Besides don’t D’rats already have a lie producing organization in LSM?

Caststeel on October 27, 2011 at 3:37 PM

“Does DOJ need a license to lie?”

Not if past history is any indicator.

These are the same people who (1) wiretapped and bugged MLK without a search warrant (RFK signed the directive at the behest of Hoover), (b) assaulted the compound at Waco (and then misplaced the front door to the compound which would have shown whether fire was incoming, outgoing or both), (c) killed Randy Weaver’s wife after giving shoot on sight orders to its agents, and and (d) obstructed the Warren Commission’s efforts to find facts about Lee Harvey Oswald (e.g. why he had the business card of an FBI agent in his wallet) and about the JFK assassination.

And a good many of them go to work each day in a building named after someone who clung to power by compiling file cabinets of embarassing information on his political adversaries.

But the inclusion of the Socialist Nation (reminds me of the Illinois Nazis in the Blues Brothers) by Occupy Phoenix is heartening.

I am sure they can all share a group hug at night before getting high and drifting off to sleep.

molonlabe28 on October 27, 2011 at 4:37 PM

OT: Occupy Phoenix has a privately funded Nazi militia with machine guns

faraway on October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Hardly “nazis” (except to ‘open border’ types); and definitely not “machine guns”.
Try to calm down, Alice. Nobody likes a drama queen.

Solaratov on October 27, 2011 at 8:02 PM