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The President & the Executive Branch Discuss Justice Department Wins Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2011 at the Political Forums; Ummm....congrats?... Justice Department Wins Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2011 The U.S. Department of Justice has won ...

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Old 02-15-2012, 03:49 PM
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Default Justice Department Wins Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2011

Ummm....congrats?...

Justice Department Wins Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2011

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The U.S. Department of Justice has won the infamous Rosemary Award for worst open government performance over the past year, according to the citation posted on the Web today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org). The award is named after President Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, who erased 18 1/2 minutes of a crucial Watergate tape.

The Rosemary Award citation includes a multi-count indictment of Justice's transparency performance in 2011, including:

* selective and abusive prosecutions using espionage laws against whistleblowers as ostensible "leakers" of classified information, with more "leaks" prosecutions in the last three years than all previous years combined, at a time when expert estimates of over-classification range from 50 to 90%;
* persisting recycled legal arguments for greater secrecy throughout Justice's litigation posture, including specious arguments before the Supreme Court in 2011 in direct contradiction to President Obama's "presumption of openness";
* retrograde proposed regulations that would allow the government to lie in court about the existence of records sought by FOIA requesters, and also prevent elementary and secondary school students as well as bloggers and new media from getting fee waivers, while narrowing multiple other FOIA provisions;
* a mixed overall record on freedom of information with some positive signs (overall releases slightly up, roundtable meetings with requesters, the website foia.gov collating government-wide statistics) outweighed by backsliding in the key indicator of the most discretionary FOIA exemption, (b)(5) for "deliberative process," cited by Justice to withhold information a whopping 1,500 times in 2011 (up from 1,231 in 2010).

"Justice edged out a crowded field of contending agencies and career officials who seem in practical rebellion against President Obama's open-government orders," commented Archive director Tom Blanton. "Justice's leading role as the government's lawyer signals every bureaucrat they don't have to stretch as much as Rose Mary Woods to cover up the government's business."

"The Department of Justice which is responsible for enforcing FOIA government-wide was supposed to be the change agent and role model for President Obama's FOIA reforms," said Nate Jones, the Archive's Freedom of Information Act Coordinator. "But, despite the president's clear instructions, the DOJ has embraced a 'FOIA-as-usual mindset' that has failed to transform the decades-old FOIA policies within its department, much less throughout the government."

The Emmy- and George Polk Award-winning National Security Archive, based at The George Washington University, has carried out ten government-wide audits of FOIA performance, filed more than 40,000 Freedom of Information requests over the past 25 years, opened historic government secrets ranging from the CIA's "Family Jewels" to the Iraq invasion war plans, and won a series of lawsuits that saved hundreds of millions of White House e-mail from the Reagan through the Obama presidencies, among many other achievements. The Archive founded the Rosemary Award in 2005 to highlight the lowlights of government secrecy.
I say they get the lifetime achievement, too, simply or the fact that their actions led to the direct death of hundreds of people through Fast and Furious...
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Justice Department Wins Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2

I assume this is an award Obama will not be showing off in the White House trophy display case.

Transparent administration? Not so much.

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Old 02-16-2012, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Justice Department Wins Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2

Yup, transparency has definantly not been this administrations strong suit. Not that that is unique to this administration, but, they did make "more transparency" their signature claim. So now they own it.
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Justice Department Wins Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance in 2

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Yup, transparency has definantly not been this administrations strong suit. Not that that is unique to this administration, but, they did make "more transparency" their signature claim. So now they own it.
You're coming along nicely...
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