Obama Admin Rewrote FOIA to Exclude White House Documents

Barb Wire

Do you remember when Pres. Barack Obama hailed his administration for its unprecedented transparency? In February of 2013, during a Google Plus “Fireside” Hangout, the president boldly stated, “This is the most transparent administration in history.”

“I can document that this is the case,” he continued. “Every visitor that comes into the White House is now part of the public record. Every law we pass and every rule we implement we put online for everyone to see.”

PolitiFact may have named Obama’s empty pledge: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” as the Lie of the Year for 2013, but we can now award the president’s transparency promise the second place prize for the same year.

According to Bruce McQuain at Hot Air:

That’s right, the Obama White House has quietly rewritten a portion of the Freedom Of Information Act to exclude what it calls “White House equities” from being released without a White House “review.” The rewrite was inspired by a 2009 memo by then White House counsel, Greg Craig…the equities exception “applies to all documents and records, whether in oral, paper, or electronic form, that relate to communications to and from the White House, including preparations for such communications.”

There is no apparent limit to the review time the White House can take with its “review” of such requests.  Since the White House gets to decide what are “White House equities” and how long it will take to review requests which include them.

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Hot Air also provided a few telling examples:

In one case cited by Cause of Action, the response to a request from a Los Angeles Times reporter to the Department of the Interior for “communications between the White House and high-ranking Interior officials on various politically sensitive topics” was delayed at least two years by the equities review.

Cause of Action is still waiting for documents from 16 federal agencies, with the Department of Treasury having the longest pending request of 202 business days.

The Department of Energy is a close second at 169 business days. The requests to the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services have been pending for 138 business days.

In case you couldn’t tell, this is what the political abuse of power looks like. But this is also what we’ve come to expect from the lawless Obama administration, which is notorious for saying one thing and actually doing the complete opposite.

The claim that this is the most transparent administration in history would be laughable if these weren’t such egregious violations of the public trust. One thing is for sure, this is another lie worthy of four Pinocchios.

Obama may have won an undeserved Nobel Peace Prize, but his current ignominious distinction for telling whoppers is most certainly well-earned.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Jeff Allen
Jeff Allen is both a senior editor and columnist for BarbWire. He also serves as senior pastor in a mainline Christian church in Indiana. He is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. Jeff is involved in several community ministries.

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