Obama’s transparency problem is worse than you think

Think you’ve seen it all with government secrecy? Think again! A new report from the Associated Press reveals that the Obama Administration has set a new record for denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests outright or censoring documents. Apparently, you can ask, but the government won’t tell!

The administration also took longer to turn over documents when it did comply, and claimed more often that it just couldn’t find certain documents. Here’s more from the AP analysis [1]

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.

Its backlog of unanswered requests at year’s end grew remarkably by 55 percent to more than 200,000. It also cut by 375, or about 9 percent, the number of full-time employees across government paid to look for records. That was the fewest number of employees working on the issue in five years.

Another tidbit from the analysis? Journalists who requested time-sensitive information to use in breaking news reports fared worse than ever before. So not only is the Obama Administration blocking the public from gaining access to government records, it’s also playing with the freedom of the press.

It’s important to keep in mind that responsiveness to FOIA requests is a vital metric by which to measure any government’s commitment to transparency. Now everyone can see how bad President Obama’s track record is when it comes to secrecy and transparency. In fact, it’s pretty dismal. Guess this isn’t the most transparent administration in history after all!