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Today: 70 articles and 198 comments as of 6:15.
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Assembly of Experts caves to Fearless Leader
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 6: Politix
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Home Front: Politix
Obama Closes Doors on Openness
IN Which another newsie has a "Wait. What?!?" moment. At this rate, will the president have any fans by the end of this term?
As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding "secret energy meetings" with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's "clean coal" policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged "presidential communications." The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig's office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a "new era" of openness, "nothing has changed," says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. "For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies."
At least he is recycling. One can hear the disgruntled Humph! in Mr. Sobel's statement... and in the journalist's choice of quote.
The hard line appears to be no accident. After Obama's much-publicized Jan. 21 "transparency" memo, administration lawyers crafted a key directive implementing the new policy that contained a major loophole, according to FOIA experts. The directive, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, instructed federal agencies to adopt a "presumption" of disclosure for FOIA requests. This reversal of Bush policy was intended to restore a standard set by President Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno. But in a little-noticed passage, the Holder memo also said the new standard applies "if practicable" for cases involving "pending litigation." Dan Metcalfe, the former longtime chief of FOIA policy at Justice, says the passage and other "lawyerly hedges" means the Holder memo is now "astonishingly weaker" than the Reno policy.
Oh dear. "Lawyerly hedges" and "astonishingly weaker"? Them's fightin' words.
(The visitor-log request falls in this category because of a pending Bush-era lawsuit for such records.)

Administration officials say the Holder memo was drafted by senior Justice lawyers in consultation with Craig's office. The separate standard for "pending" lawsuits was inserted because of the "burden" it would impose on officials to go "backward" and reprocess hundreds of old cases, says Melanie Ann Pustay, who now heads the FOIA office. White House spokesman Ben LaBolt says Obama "has backed up his promise" with actions including the broadcast of White House meetings on the Web. (Others cite the release of the so-called torture memos.) As for the visitor logs, LaBolt says the policy is now "under review."
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 06/21/2009 01:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [300 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Its not a crime when I do it" Richard Nixon Barack Obama
Posted by: OldSpook || 06/21/2009 1:56 Comments || Top||

#2  As always, cockroaches cannot stand a good strong light.
Posted by: no mo uro || 06/21/2009 6:02 Comments || Top||

#3  Hardly surprising. Simply another in a long list of undisclosed "logs" dating back to, can I safely say without retribution, August 4th 1961?
Posted by: Besoeker || 06/21/2009 7:27 Comments || Top||

#4  Save your copy before it disappears down the Memory Hole(c). Rules are for little people.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 06/21/2009 9:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Transparency has outlive it's usefulness, I guess.
Posted by: Richard of Oregon || 06/21/2009 10:21 Comments || Top||

#6  Soon he will have the bunker mentality. He will want to control and direct everything from a safe and secure location. Yes I am early on this but I am a future thinker.
Posted by: Dale || 06/21/2009 10:37 Comments || Top||

#7  "For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies reporter who should know better, you'd think I shouldn't be surprised."

There, Mr. Sobel. Fixed that for ya.

Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 06/21/2009 10:46 Comments || Top||

#8  Er, ah maybe there are some "truth in advertising" issues; like the presidency doesn't live up to the campaign hype promises, eh what?
Posted by: JohnQC || 06/21/2009 16:34 Comments || Top||

Who's in the News
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1al-Qaeda in Iraq
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Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Scooter McGruder
john frum
Bright Pebbles
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Two weeks of WOT
Sun 2009-06-21
  Assembly of Experts caves to Fearless Leader
Sat 2009-06-20
  Iran police disperse protesters
Fri 2009-06-19
  Khamenei to Mousavi: toe the line or else
Thu 2009-06-18
  Iran cracks down
Wed 2009-06-17
  Mousavi calls day of mourning for Iran dead
Tue 2009-06-16
  Hundreds of thousands of Iranians ask: 'Where is my vote?'
Mon 2009-06-15
  Tehran Election Protest Turns Deadly: Unofficial results show Ahmedinejad came in 3rd
Sun 2009-06-14
  Ahmadinejad's victory 'real feast': Khamenei
Sat 2009-06-13
  Mousavi arrested
Fri 2009-06-12
  Iran votes: Not a pretty sight
Thu 2009-06-11
  Gitmo Uighurs in Bermuda
Wed 2009-06-10
  Foopy becomes first Gitmo boy to stand trial in US
Tue 2009-06-09
  Truck bomb and gunnies attack 5-star Peshawar hotel
Mon 2009-06-08
  March 14 Maintains Parliamentary Majority in Record Turnout
Sun 2009-06-07
  30 MILF banged, camp seized

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