Analysis: Obama's Transparency Push a Flop
Feds cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 17, 2014 9:11 AM CDT
Law enforcement officers photograph a window at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, as seen from the South Lawn.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

(Newser) – The Obama administration pledged to boost transparency in the White House from the get-go, but it hasn't exactly been a promise kept. In virtually every category, the government's efforts to be more open about its activities in 2013 were their worst since Barack Obama first took office, the AP reports in an analysis of federal data. Last year, the government censored or refused to reveal more files requested under the Freedom of Information Act than ever before, and when it came to the most "newsworthy" events, the White House denied quick access to relevant materials at a record rate. Standout figures:

  • The administration—mostly through the Pentagon and the CIA—pointed to national security as a reason to maintain secrecy 8,496 times in 2013. That record-breaking figure is up 57% from the year before.
  • Five years ago, President Obama ordered agencies to reduce their use of a "deliberative process" explanation to justify withholding documents—but agencies did it a record 81,752 times last year.
  • The year saw a record 704,394 requests for information; in all, the White House censored or refused to release materials 36% of the time.
  • On 196,034 other occasions, the government said it couldn't find records, a person refused to pay for copies, or the government determined the request to be unreasonable or improper.
The administration says its "agencies are responding to the president's call for greater transparency," with a White House rep noting that "over the past five years, federal agencies have worked aggressively to improve their responsiveness to FOIA requests." But AP's analysis showed that most agencies took longer to answer requests than in 2012; the White House said the government responded more quickly, but it did not immediately explain how it determined that. It did, however, respond to 2% more requests overall than it did in 2012. Click for the full report.

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Mar 20, 2014 9:28 AM CDT
What has Obama done. That hasn't been a FLOP
Mar 20, 2014 5:42 AM CDT
Can't be transparent when you're continually breaking the law, covering conspiracies, and continually lying to the American people.
Mar 18, 2014 11:10 PM CDT
Not only that, who stood up on the side of a criminal, likening him to a "son", rather than siding with the decision of America's legal system? Who doubled the National Debt? Who lied to an entire country about a new healthcare system and its options? Who SECRETLY gave Pakistan $1.6 billion while we were in the middle of having a "shut down" due to lack of funds? None of the above problems are based on racism. Whatever dislike and disapproval a President receives is due to his actions. Note: There are plenty of people who STILL hate Bush, and he's white!