Obama: Transparency? Who Needs it?

In another breach of trust between President Obama and the American people, Obama has once again broken a promise to change the business-as-usual habits of Washington. As a candidate and early in his presidency Obama claimed he’d bring an unprecedented transparency to Washington. But now it looks as though he’s OKayed his agencies to lie about the records they hold.

Obama’s Justice Dept. floated a proposal that if records sought by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests are exempt from the eyes of the American people, why, they should be able lie and pretend such records don’t even exist.

This has transparency watchdogs a bit miffed, to say the least. Both the ACLU and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) issued a press release decrying the situation. Obama’s move threatens to “destroy integrity in government,” they say.

“It is very problematic,” said Patrice McDermott, the director of OpenTheGovernment.org. “There are options open to them other than this nuclear option of lying to requesters.”

Currently when records exempt from being released (usually national security related documents) the government must reply that they can “neither confirm nor deny” the records exist. This helps researchers narrow down the parameters for searches of documents.

Under the new procedure proposed, the government can simply say they don;t exist. In other words, they can outright lie about. This puts researchers at a disadvantage and makes their efforts to find out information about what our government does behind closed doors much harder.

So much for the most transparent administration ever, eh?

This isn’t the only time we have seen Obama make the lie to his claims of fealty to transparency. Just to name a few he’s been reluctant to allow the public to see the White House visitor logs (yes the same logs he criticized the Bush administration for trying to keep secret), he’s rewritten rules to allow unions to hide their business, as well as his other instances of non-transparent behavior.

This man has broken his word with the American people almost daily since his shining campaign of “change we can believe in.”

Will voters punish him for it in 2012?

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