Political Wrinkles  

Go Back   Political Wrinkles > Political Forums > The President & the Executive Branch
Register FAQDonate PW Store PW Trivia Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

The President & the Executive Branch Discuss Obama’s War on Transparency at the Political Forums; Obama’s War on Transparency John Glaser, November 26, 2012 Obama’s War on Transparency Antiwar.com Blog Obama’s war on transparency is ...

Reply
 
Share LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2012, 01:53 PM
mr. wonder's Avatar
Scholar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,022
Thanks: 3,158
Thanked 1,360 Times in 970 Posts
Default Obama’s War on Transparency

Obama’s War on Transparency
John Glaser, November 26, 2012
Obama’s War on Transparency Antiwar.com Blog
Quote:
Obama’s war on transparency is forever intensifying. His crackdown on whistleblowers and attacks on legitimate journalism as national security threats are now infamous. But last week the President issued a “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies” which detailed new requirements that agencies must meet in order to tackle “insider threats,” or the threat of potential leakers and whistleblowers.

The new standards, according to Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News, are based on an October 2011 executive order, “and they reflect the ongoing tightening of safeguards on classified information in response to the voluminous leaks of the last few years.”

To illustrate the extent to which the Obama administration has driven the conduct of the Executive Branch underground, consider that the government spent more than $11 billion dollars in 2011 just on keeping secrets from the American public (compared with $4.7 billion in 2001).

Document reviews conducted by ISOO in 2009 discovered violations of classification rules in 65% of the documents examined, with several agencies posting error rates of more than 90%. According to the ISOO, the government made a record 76,795,945 classification decisions in 2010, an increase of more than 40% from 2009.

“To me it illustrates the most important problem — namely that we are classifying far too much information,” Aftergood has said. “The credibility of the classification system is collapsing under the weight of bogus secrets.”

At this point, though, the Obama administration is just piling on:

But the latest issuance also illustrates the superfluousness (or worse) of current congressional action concerning leaks. Executive branch agencies do not need Congress to tell them to develop “a comprehensive insider threat program management plan,” as would be required by the Senate version of the pending FY2013 Intelligence Authorization Act (section 509). Such plans will go forward in any case.

And this intelligence bill contains measures intended to restrict contacts between reporters and government officials, in an attempt to crack down on press freedoms when they happen to conflict with what Obama wants Americans to read about.

Sen. Ron Wyden has spoken out against the bill. “I have been on the Senate Intelligence Committee for 12 years now, and I can recall numerous specific instances where I found out about serious government wrongdoing–such as the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, or the CIA’s coercive interrogation program–only as a result of disclosures by the press,” he said. And Obama is out to change that.

Aftergood:

Sen. Ron Wyden has placed a hold on the pending intelligence bill, citing objections to several of the proposed anti-leak provisions contained in Title V of the bill. He said the proposed steps were misguided or counterproductive.

“I am concerned that they will lead to less-informed public debate about national security issues, and also undermine the due process rights of intelligence agency employees, without actually enhancing national security,” he said on November 14.

Obama’s efforts have the feel of making these secrecy measures a permanent fixture of the US government....
“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” – Patrick Henry
__________________
Hope is the dream of the waking man.
Aristotle

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Job 14:6-8
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to mr. wonder For This Useful Post:
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-01-2013, 09:04 AM
mr. wonder's Avatar
Scholar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,022
Thanks: 3,158
Thanked 1,360 Times in 970 Posts
Default Re: Obama’s War on Transparency

Obama Memo on ‘Sensitive’ Jobs Stirs Whistle-Blower Fears

Obama Memo on ?Sensitive? Jobs Stirs Whistle-Blower Fears - Bloomberg

Quote:
President Barack Obama is seeking new rules to allow federal agencies to fire employees without appeal if their work has some tie to national security, a move that advocates for whistle-blowers say may hurt efforts to keep government transparent and free from corruption.

Potentially thousands of positions would be covered and government watchdog groups say it may provide a new way to crack down on leaks by government workers.

In a little-noticed one-page memorandum on Jan. 25, Obama instructed the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of Personnel Management to propose standards for designating a position “national security sensitive.”

The president’s memo came out the day after a federal appeals court panel issued a 2-1 ruling that set aside an August court decision giving the government broad authority to remove employees from “sensitive” jobs without appeal. The full court will rehear the case, Berry v. Conyers, this year, and its decision may constrain the federal government’s power.


“There is so much secrecy, and employees have so few rights already in the national security bureaucracy,” said Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, a Washington-based whistle-blower advocacy group.

Attorney General Eric Holder has prosecuted more alleged leaks by government officials under the Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined. Six individuals have been indicted under the Espionage Act since Obama took office in 2009 -- five by the Justice Department and one by the Department of Defense.
‘Spoils System’

“Most of our whistle-blowers are national security professionals,” Devine said. “If they get rid of the civil service system for those jobs, we’re not just going to be vulnerable to a national security spoils system -- we’ll have it.”

Devine said whistle-blowers’ actions can save lives. He cited a case involving Franz Gayl, a Marine Corps science and technology adviser. Gayl raised questions in 2007 over the postponed delivery of mine-resistant armored vehicles for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and later lost his security clearance.

While Gayl’s clearance has been restored, his access to offices where classified files are kept has not. Under the rulemaking being considered, Devine said, it’s possible that Gayl “will lose all the legal rights that have enabled him so far to survive a marathon campaign to purge him for embarrassing the Marines’ bureaucracy.”

Gayl said the administration is being pulled in opposite directions by those pushing for greater openness in government operations and advocates for greater secrecy in the name of national security.
Competing Camps

“I feel the president has come in with the best of intentions,” Gayl said in a telephone interview. There are “two very different camps exerting pressure on Obama from within.”

If a government employee “can’t appeal to a more dispassionate, thoughtful appeal authority, there’s a risk you will be drummed out of town,” he said.

Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the judiciary committee, said in a statement to Bloomberg News that he’s concerned about the administration’s aims because Obama has sent mixed signals about how he views whistle-blowers.

“If done properly, it could help ensure that a grossly disproportionate ruling from the federal circuit is reined in,” Grassley said of the rulemaking process. At the same time, Grassley said, Obama “in many instances has sought to silence whistle-blowers.”
‘Terrible Decision’

Pushing for rulemaking before the court re-hears the case “could be an attempt to signal to the full federal circuit not to overturn a terrible decision,” Grassley said. That would be “a disservice to whistle-blowers and the American taxpayers that benefit from the fraud and waste they uncover.”

The White House and the Office of Personnel Management refused to make officials available for interviews on the rulemaking process.

One administration official, who was authorized to speak only on the condition of anonymity, said the timing of the Jan. 25 presidential memorandum one day after the court’s announcement was coincidental.

The main purpose of the memo was to make it clear to officials from the intelligence and personnel agencies that they are to work together on the rulemaking, he said.

The official declined to discuss the pending litigation or White House deliberations over the rulemaking....
more at link
Obama Memo on ?Sensitive? Jobs Stirs Whistle-Blower Fears - Bloomberg
__________________
Hope is the dream of the waking man.
Aristotle

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Job 14:6-8
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to mr. wonder For This Useful Post:
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-01-2013, 01:59 PM
cnredd's Avatar
Administrator
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Philadelphia
Gender: Male
Posts: 44,685
Thanks: 1,328
Thanked 23,429 Times in 14,478 Posts
Default Re: Obama’s War on Transparency

This sums it up nicely...

__________________
"You get the respect that you give" - cnredd
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 03-01-2013, 02:07 PM
RuPaul XOXO's Avatar
professional curmudgeon
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Gender: Male
Posts: 23,965
Thanks: 13,928
Thanked 13,142 Times in 8,714 Posts
Default Re: Obama’s War on Transparency

obama has been about as transparent as mud
__________________
“Her legs are like peanut butter … easy to spread.”

RuPaul
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03-17-2013, 12:18 PM
mr. wonder's Avatar
Scholar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,022
Thanks: 3,158
Thanked 1,360 Times in 970 Posts
Default Re: Obama’s War on Transparency

Obama's secrecy fixation causing Sunshine Week implosion
Even the most loyal establishment Democrats are now harshly denouncing the president for his war on transparency

Quote:
...
When Obama ran for president in 2008, his pledges of openness and transparency were not ancillary to his campaign but central to it. He repeatedly denounced the Bush administration as "one of the most secretive administrations in our nation's history", saying that "it is no coincidence" that such a secrecy-obsessed presidency "has favored special interests and pursued policies that could not stand up to the sunlight." He vowed: "as president, I'm going to change that." In a widely heralded 2007 speech on transparency, he actually claimed that this value shaped his life purpose:
"The American people want to trust in our government again – we just need a government that will trust in us. And making government accountable to the people isn't just a cause of this campaign – it's been a cause of my life for two decades."
His campaign specifically vowed to protect whistleblowers, hailing them as "the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government" and saying that "such acts of courage and patriotism. . . should be encouraged rather than stifled." Transparency groups were completely mesmerized by these ringing commitments. "We have a president-elect that really gets it," gushed Charles Davis, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, in late 2008; "the openness community will expect a complete repudiation of the Ashcroft doctrine." Here's just one of countless representative examples of Obama bashing Bush for excessive secrecy - including in the realm of national security and intelligence - and vowing a fundamentally different course:

Literally moments after he was inaugurated, the White House declared that "President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history". Obama continues even now to parade around as a historically unprecedented champion of openness. In a 2010 speech, he said "I will not stop fighting to open up government" and then praised himself this way: "we have put in place the toughest transparency rules in history: in history." Right this very minute, on the White House website, Obama is quoted this way: "My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government" because "transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing."
This week is Sunshine Week, created by transparency and civil liberties groups and media outlets as "a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information". The White House blog on Wednesday said that "we celebrate Sunshine Week - an appropriate time to discuss the importance of open government and freedom of information" and quoted the president this way: "Openness will strengthen our democracy, and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."
Along with others, I've spent the last four years documenting the extreme, often unprecedented, commitment to secrecy that this president has exhibited, including his vindictive war on whistleblowers, his refusal to disclose even the legal principles underpinning his claimed war powers of assassination, and his unrelenting, Bush-copying invocation of secrecy privileges to prevent courts even from deciding the legality of his conduct (as a 2009 headline on the Obama-friendly TPM site put it: "Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush On State Secrets"). Just this week, the Associated Press conducted a study proving that last year, the Obama administration has rejected more FOIA requests on national security grounds than in any year since Obama became president, and quoted Alexander Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney for its national security project, as follows:
"We've seen a meteoric rise in the number of claims to protect secret law, the government's interpretations of laws or its understanding of its own authority. In some ways, the Obama administration is actually even more aggressive on secrecy than the Bush administration."

...But what is remarkable is that this secrecy has become so oppressive and extreme that even the most faithful Democratic operatives are now angrily exploding with public denunciations.
Let's begin with John Podesta, who was previously the chief of Obama's transition team as well as Chief of Staff in the Clinton White House, and now runs the highly Obama-loyal Center for American Progress. During that 2008 transition, Podesta vowed that the Obama administration would be "the most open and transparent transition in history." Perhaps out of embarrassment that his own vows have been so flagrantly disregarded, Podesta has an amazingly scathing Op-Ed in the Washington Post this morning about Obama's refusal to release even the legal memoranda purporting to vest him with assassination powers. This language is striking indeed given Podesta's central role in the Democratic establishment:
"The Obama administration is wrong to withhold these documents from Congress and the American people. I say this as a former White House chief of staff who understands the instinct to keep sensitive information secret and out of public view . . . But protecting technical means, human sources, operational details and intelligence methods cannot be an excuse for creating secret law to guide our institutions. . .
"In refusing to release to Congress the rules and justifications governing a program that has conducted nearly 400 unmanned drone strikes and killed at least three Americans in the past four years, President Obama is ignoring the system of checks and balances that has governed our country from its earliest days. And in keeping this information from the American people, he is undermining the nation's ability to be a leader on the world stage and is acting in opposition to the democratic principles we hold most important. . . .
"The law that directs our government's activities should not be kept secret. All branches of the people's government have the right to know the rules and standards under which the other branches act. Congress has the power to oversee the conduct of the executive branch, and lawmakers must be permitted to use it..
"[W]e cannot lead if the American people are kept in the dark. We cannot lead if the world does not know the principles and laws that guide us, or if others can credibly say that our commitment to a government of the people, by the people and for the people is simply window-dressing, or that we sacrifice our constitutional principles when it is expedient."
Meanwhile, Politico this morning reports on an acrimonious meeting between Obama and various Democratic senators in which they accused Obama of adopting the secrecy obsession of the Bush administration. Apparently, the charge was led by Jay Rockefeller, one of the Senate's most faithful advocates of the National Security State and the rampant secrecy behind which it operates; Obama's secrecy, evidently, is too much even for him:

"Two Obama administration officials, who asked not to be named, confirmed Rockefeller raised the drone oversight issue with the president at the session. . . . While Obama defended his handling of the issue, he told his former Senate colleagues he understood their concerns about being left out of the loop on such sensitive decisions, senators said. The president noted that he would have 'probably objected' over the White House's handling of this issue if he were still a senator, they said. But, according to the sources, he noted his viewpoint changed now that he occupies the Oval Office — not a room in a Senate office building. . . .

...this morning's New York Times Op-Ed by Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler and Floyd Abrams, the First Amendment champion who represented the New York Times in fighting off the Nixon administration's attempts to prevent publication of the Pentagon Papers leaked by Daniel Ellsberg. While Benkler has been a vocal defender of WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, Abrams has been a critic of both. Nonetheless, those two united to warn the nation of the grave dangers posed to whistleblowing and a free press from the wildly excessive prosecution of Manning:

"If successful, the prosecution will establish a chilling precedent: national security leaks may subject the leakers to a capital prosecution or at least life imprisonment. Anyone who holds freedom of the press dear should shudder at the threat that the prosecution's theory presents to journalists, their sources and the public that relies on them.
"You don't have to think that WikiLeaks is the future of media, or Private Manning a paragon of heroic whistle-blowing, to understand the threat. . . . [W]hat could be more destructive to an informed citizenry than the threat of the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole for whistle-blowers?
"So yes, we continue to disagree about what to make of Private Manning and WikiLeaks. But we agree that WikiLeaks is part of what the Fourth Estate is becoming, that the leaks included important disclosures and that their publication is protected by the First Amendment no less than the publication of the Pentagon Papers was...

So here we have not Republicans but the most loyal establishment Democrats denouncing Obama's secrecy obsession in the harshest of terms. "President Obama is ignoring the system of checks and balances that has governed our country from its earliest days." He is "acting in opposition to the democratic principles we hold most important". "The administration clammed up again and went directly back to the way they were from 2001-2 to 2007." "What could be more destructive to an informed citizenry than the threat of the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole for whistle-blowers?"
This hardly means that Democrats are now ready to pose meaningful challenges to Obama's radical policies: to release the OLC memos would be simply to disclose the White House's claimed justification for the powers it has seized, and would not mean there would be meaningful opposing to those powers. Still, secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power and transparency is a necessary (though not sufficient) antidote; as Thomas Jefferson wrote in an 1804 letter: "Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions."....[/B]
...
Obama's secrecy fixation causing Sunshine Week implosion | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
__________________
Hope is the dream of the waking man.
Aristotle

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Job 14:6-8
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-17-2014, 10:29 PM
mr. wonder's Avatar
Scholar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Virginia
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,022
Thanks: 3,158
Thanked 1,360 Times in 970 Posts
Default Re: Obama’s War on Transparency

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration has a way to go to fulfill its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.
Quote:

More often than ever, the administration censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

Most agencies also took longer to answer records requests.

The government's own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that halfway through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records. In category after category - except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees - the government's efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.

In a year of intense public interest over the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times - a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama's first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times. The Defense Department, including the NSA, and the CIA accounted for nearly all those. The Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency cited national security six times, the Environmental Protection Agency did twice and the National Park Service once.

And five years after Obama directed agencies to less frequently invoke a "deliberative process" exception to withhold materials describing decision-making behind the scenes, the government did it anyway, a record 81,752 times....
News from The Associated Press
__________________
Hope is the dream of the waking man.
Aristotle

For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
Job 14:6-8
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to mr. wonder For This Useful Post:
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 03-18-2014, 10:40 AM
Conservative Sage
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 8,594
Thanks: 2,962
Thanked 3,373 Times in 2,294 Posts
Send a message via ICQ to AZRWinger
Default Re: Obama’s War on Transparency

The OA's failure to live up to Obama's campaign promise of transparency is not surprising, neither is the press continuing to act like a batter wife ignoring the abuse to keep the family together.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to AZRWinger For This Useful Post:
Reply

Tags
obama’s, transparency, war

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0