The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) tried to hide an email about its fear of upsetting the White House from Freedom of Information Act requests by the Associated Press, the AP reported Friday.
Associated Press president Gary Pruitt reported in an op-ed on government transparency that, during the course of an AP investigation into Michelle Obama’s dresses, NARA used a privacy exemption to redact a line in an email that was actually about the agency’s fear of the White House:
As the president said, the United States should not withhold or censor government files merely because they might be embarrassing.
But it happens anyway.
In government emails that AP obtained in reporting about who pays for Michelle Obama’s expensive dresses, the National Archives and Records Administration blacked out one sentence repeatedly, citing a part of the law intended to shield personal information such as Social Security numbers or home addresses.
The blacked-out sentence? The government slipped and let it through on one page of the redacted documents: “We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House).”
Upon taking office, President Obama pledged to run the “most transparent administration in history.”
The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails,” the White House said in a 2009 memo to all federal agencies. “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.”
Category Archives: “Intelligence”
The Obama administration insists that it is negotiating an agreement with Iran that will prevent that country from acquiring nuclear weapons–for a while, anyway. Critics of the negotiations, as reflected in the interim agreement already reached and in news reports of the discussions in progress, suspect that the deal Obama has in mind will facilitate, not prevent, a nuclear Iran. As reported, the deal will sunset in ten years, leaving Iran free to put its centrifuges, its enriched uranium and its ICBMs to work as a nuclear power.
But don’t take our word for it. For Iran’s rivals in the region, the current negotiations are potentially a matter of life and death. So what is Saudi Arabia doing? Beginning to develop its own nuclear capability. The Wall Street Journal reports:
As U.S. and Iranian diplomats inched toward progress on Tehran’s nuclear program last week, Saudi Arabia quietly signed its own nuclear-cooperation agreement with South Korea.
That agreement, along with recent comments from Saudi officials and royals, is raising concerns on Capitol Hill and among U.S. allies that a deal with Iran, rather than stanching the spread of nuclear technologies, risks fueling it.
Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a member of the royal family, has publicly warned in recent months that Riyadh will seek to match the nuclear capabilities Iran is allowed to maintain as part of any final agreement reached with world powers. This could include the ability to enrich uranium and to harvest the weapons-grade plutonium discharged in a nuclear reactor’s spent fuel. …
So even though no agreement has been announced, the consequences of the administration’s fecklessness are already being seen.
President Obama on Friday ignored his own State Department’s research on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, dismissing the project and casting it as both economically unimportant and potentially harmful to the environment.
Speaking at a town-hall meeting at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., the president defended his recent veto of legislation that would have approved Keystone. Mr. Obama said he vetoed the bill for technical reasons and has not yet made a final decision on the project.
“Its proponents argue that it would be creating jobs in the United States. But the truth is … it will probably create a couple thousand construction jobs for a year or two,” he said. “We’re not going to authorize a pipeline that benefits largely a foreign company if it can’t be shown that it is safe and if it can’t be shown that, overall, it would not contribute to climate change.”
But Mr. Obama’s own State Department contradicts his claims. The department’s environmental review of Keystone already has determined the pipeline would not significantly increase greenhouse-gas emissions or contribute in a measurable way to climate change because, the federal government predicts, Canada will extract its oil and send it to market with or without the project.
A Republican member of the House Ways & Means Committee warned President Barack Obama this week that his professed interest in raising taxes is moot, since the Constitution clearly states that only Congress has the power to levy taxes.
“Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution is clear on this matter — only Congress has the power to tax,” Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) wrote in a Thursday letter to Obama. “The statement by your press secretary this week that you are ‘very interested’ in reshaping the tax code through unilateral action would be a clear violation of the Constitution and continue a disturbing lack of bipartisanship.”
“I remind you that the last successful tax reform effort, nearly 30 years ago, required President Reagan and a Democratic Congress to find common ground,” he wrote. “But unilateral action could poison the well of goodwill that is necessary to tackle this urgent challenge in a bipartisan manner.”
There’s good will between Congress and Obama?
Amid reports that US President Barack Obama plans to utilize the final 20 months of his term in office to push through a major diplomatic initiative in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere, officials in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party on Friday privately expressed glee over the prospect.
Likud officials reacted to a report in the liberal daily Haaretz which cited White House sources as saying that Obama has every intention of revisiting the issue after a new government is formed in Jerusalem.
“We would like to see the formation of the new government in Israel and its attitude to this issue,” a US official told Haaretz. “But in the year and a half to two years that Obama has left in the White House, we will have to deal with this issue because time is working against us.”
The Haaretz report, although seemingly problematic for the Israeli Right since it implies more pressure from Washington for Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, may actually serve Netanyahu’s short-term political goals.
Likud officials told The Jerusalem Post’s Gil Hoffman that the party could exploit the specter of a US-imposed Israeli withdrawal to rally more voters to Netanyahu’s side. They believe that reminding voters about the danger of an Obama administration winding down its term in office will frighten them into casting their ballots for Netanyahu once more.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have looked like he stood alone at the podium as he addressed Congress this week.
But as he hammered away at his view that a nuclear deal with Iran would dangerously empower an Iranian regime already in full expansion mode, his words no doubt drew vigorous nods from what might seem a surprising group: Arab leaders from Saudi Arabia to Egypt.
Already alarmed at the gains the Shiite government in Tehran is making in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and now apparently in Yemen, Sunni Arab leaders worry that an American accord with Iran on its nuclear program will seal the deal on a decade of expanding Iranian influence.
“The focus has been on Netanyahu and his concerns about a nuclear deal, as if he were the only one, but the Arabs are increasingly alarmed at the prospect of a flawed nuclear deal and what that would mean for the region,” says James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
That “alarm” has sharpened in recent months with the growing perception among Arabs that the Obama administration sees Iran as a “useful ally” in the fight against the Islamic State, Mr. Phillips says.
House Benghazi Committee Busts Hillary Clinton For Using Personal Email To Evade Transparency Requirements
If we still lived in a nation where the rule of law meant anything to our left-wing aristocracy, the discovery that Hillary Clinton used personal email accounts to evade federal transparency requirements would finish her, and probably finish Barack Obama with her.
He had to be in on the scheme, after all. Nearly every high official in the Obama Administration is a willing co-conspirator. They all knew Clinton completely avoided using the State Department’s official email system. In fact, it turns out she didn’t even use it once. This allows her little gang to sanitize her correspondence at its leisure, turning over whatever they feel like revealing to congressional investigators.
(Be on guard against liberal attempts to spin this story away by whining about every public official who ever used a public email account. The key detail here is that Clinton rinsed everything through her off-the-books account, in clear violation of requirements instituted because of previous private-email imbroglios – requirements Clinton and her staff could not possibly have misunderstood or been ignorant of.)
We don’t live in a country with the rule of law any more, of course, so Clinton probably won’t be crushed by this new scandal, and it won’t bother Obama at all. It would be a minor miracle if anyone from his slavish press corps even bothered to ask him about it, especially since the news is breaking on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “controversial” address to Congress (controversial because His Majesty decreed it so) and that’s going to eat up an entire news cycle.
The email revelations might still be a significant contribution to the growing pile of gaffes and scandal crud weighing Clinton’s prospective presidential campaign down. No matter how corrupt and power-hungry the Democrat Party has become, some significant number of its voters must still care about transparency, honesty, and lawful conduct in the mega-government they hold to be far more virtuous than private-sector corporations.
The Department of Justice blocked an attempt to force the Internal Revenue Service to search for Lois Lerner’s missing emails at off-site storage facilities, according to a lawyer pushing to obtain the emails.
The IRS never looked for Lerner’s backup email tapes at the West Virginia storage facility where they were being housed. Treasury deputy inspector general Timothy Camus told Congress that the IRS never asked IT professionals at the New Martinsville, W.V. storage site for the backup tapes. Camus only found the backup tape for Lerner’s missing 2011 emails about two weeks ago.
But the Obama administration knew that emails were stored at off-site facilities, and even shut down a legal request to send somebody to go look for them.
“We said in court that there are off-site servers where all IRS emails are stored,” lawyer Cleta Mitchell told The Daily Caller.
Mitchell represents the voter-ID group True the Vote in its lawsuit against the IRS over improper targeting. Shortly after it was revealed last summer that the IRS was missing Lerner’s emails, Mitchell petitioned U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton for an independent forensic examiner to be appointed to investigate the missing emails.
Mitchell referred to the IRS’ off-site storage facilities in West Virginia and Pittsburgh in court in July. But DOJ lawyers representing the IRS and the Treasury inspector general argued that Mitchell could not even discuss the existence of the storage facilities in her capacity as a lawyer.