Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Don't stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed. - George Burns

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Most Transparent Government Ever

That’s what it says right on the label.  Just ignore the man behind the curtain:

For at least a year, the Homeland Security Department detoured hundreds of requests for federal records to senior political advisers for highly unusual scrutiny, probing for information about the requesters and delaying disclosures deemed too politically sensitive, according to nearly 1,000 pages of internal e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.

The department abandoned the practice after AP investigated. Inspectors from the department’s Office of Inspector General quietly conducted interviews last week to determine whether political advisers acted improperly.

The Freedom of Information Act, the main tool forcing the government to be more open, is designed to be insulated from political considerations. Anyone who seeks information through the law is supposed to get it unless disclosure would hurt national security, violate personal privacy or expose confidential decision-making in certain areas.

But in July 2009, Homeland Security introduced a directive requiring a wide range of information to be vetted by political appointees for “awareness purposes,” no matter who requested it. The government on Wednesday estimated fewer than 500 requests underwent such political scrutiny; the Homeland Security Department received about 103,000 total requests for information last fiscal year.

Two things that came in for routine scrutiny were requests about the stimulus and request about Cabinet members’ schedules.  The latter was after a FOIA request showed that Geithner was talking to Wall Street execs a couple of times a day.  This, of course, comes after the financial reform bill exempted the SEC to make sure that we, the unwashed masses, don’t find out if the SEC ignores warnings about the next Bernie Madoff.

I’m predicting this scandal, assuming there is one, follows the template used when the Clinton Administration illegally obtained hundreds of confidential FBI files on their political foes.  There will be some hearings, especially if the GOP takes back Congress.  There may be a fall guy.  And in the end, no one will know how this happened.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/21/10 at 08:35 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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