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Obama's "most transparent administration in history" sets record for censoring public government information

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(NaturalNews) Once pledging to be the most transparent administration in U.S. history, the Barack Obama presidency just set a new record for being the opposite of transparent. Call it another "you can keep your doctor and health insurance if you want" moment in this administration.

As reported by The Associated Press - which has its own reasons for going after this White House's privacy and openness policies - the administration has set a record again for both censoring information from the general public by hiding government files or by simply denying reporters and organizations legitimate access to them under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to a recent analysis by the AP, the Obama regime took longer to hand over public information - when it provided any at all - and said with more regularity that it could not find documents, and refused a record number of times to produce files quickly that could be particularly newsworthy.

"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," the AP reported.

So much for the FOIA law

There's more here, and it certainly lends itself to the belief that Obama has gone out of his way to hide virtually everything his administration is doing or has done.

The AP further reported that the government's backlog of unanswered requests for information grew substantially, by 55 percent, to more than 200,000.

At the same time the most profligate spending government in U.S. history actually cut some government staffers in recent years: It cut by 9 percent, or 375, "the number of full-time employees across government who are paid to look for records," AP noted. The cuts resulted in the fewest number of employees working to find requested records in five years (or slightly less time that Obama's been in office).

The new government figures, which were recently published, covered all FOIA requests to 100 federal agencies during the 2014 fiscal year. While the law is championed around the world as a model for bringing transparency to government, the Obama regime has "fundamentally transformed" it into a meaningless statute.

Still, during that period the statistics show that the FOIA law had become more popular than ever. "Citizens, journalists, businesses and others made a record 714,231 requests for information," said AP. "The U.S. spent a record $434 million trying to keep up. It also spent about $28 million on lawyers' fees to keep records secret."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said of the figures, "This disappointing track record is hardly the mark of an administration that was supposed to be the most transparent in history."

He has sponsored legislation with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, to improve the FOIA law but it did not advance in the House last year.

Despite the dismal transparency, White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to defend the indefensible. "We actually do have quite a lot to brag about," he told reporters aboard Air Force One.

In fact, by the administration's own measurements, its 91 percent release rate of all or part of FOIA requests is the lowest in years. What's more, the administration's self-assessment did not include instances where government agencies said they simply could not locate requested documents and records or a person requesting documents refused to pay for copies.

'We live in constant fear of the WH'

As AP further noted:

Under the law, citizens and foreigners can compel the government to turn over copies of federal records for zero or little cost. Anyone who seeks information through the law is generally supposed to get it unless disclosure would hurt national security, violate personal privacy or expose business secrets or confidential decision-making in certain areas. It cited such exceptions a record 554,969 times last year.

The AP, in its investigation, turned up even more damaging evidence. In emails the newswire service obtained for the National Archives and Records Administration about who is financially responsible for first lady Michelle Obama's expensive dresses, the agency "blacked out a sentence under part of the law intended to shield personal, private information," like phone numbers and personal identifying information. However, the agency failed to censor the same passage on a subsequent page.

The sentence: "We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House)."

Read the full AP report here.






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