The Unprecedented Secrecy of the Obama Administration
President Barack Obama, on his first full day in office in 2009, said, “Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
Time has given the lie to this bold statement. Repeatedly.
In fact, what America has seen is unprecedented secrecy. Judicial Watch has had to file over 1,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and well over 100 lawsuits against the Obama administration seeking information about:
- the continued funding of the criminal ACORN network;
- tracking Wall Street bailout money;
- the czar racket;
- immigration policy;
- election integrity;
- information on Operation Fast and Furious (which led to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens);
- records concerning the illegal appointment of Richard Cordray to the NSA-esque, personal consumer credit data drilling Consumer Finance Protection Board;
- the images of the capture, killing and burial of Osama bin Laden (that might upset the terrorists);
- disastrous green energy loan guarantees;
- Billions of dollars of spending on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac (the government takeover of the mortgage market);
- Hillary Clinton’s ethics compliance records (from an administration that has probably perfected the “ethics waiver,” but that’s another story).
This president touts transparency but condones law-breaking of open records laws by his administration. The Obama administration has perfected the art of “selective transparency.” It releases documents when it serves them and keeps them secret when it does not. For instance, the Obama White House makes a show of posting some of the Secret Service’s White House visitor log entries, while withholding hundreds thousands of others and opposing the logs’ full release under law in court. We’ve even had to sue for basic information on the taxpayer costs of the Obamas’ many luxury vacations.
We battled the Bush administration all the way up to the Supreme Court on secrecy issues. But I can tell you that Obama makes George W. Bush seem like a piker on government secrecy. Leftists will, in rare honest moments, tell you, too: the Obama administration is less transparent than the Bush administration.
Time is a friend to the politician with scandals and embarrassments to hide, in the hopes that the news cycle will move on or that the public will forget. Getting beyond the Obama administration’s smokescreen is about a simple principle: the public’s right to know the full truth about what its government is up to.
There are many “big lies” that live within the Obama administration. But few are promoted more directly by this president than the one about his administration’s supposed transparency.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton is author of the NY Times best-seller “The Corruption Chronicles” and executive producer of the documentary “District of Corruption.”