Least transparent ever.
The Associated Press reports:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration set a record for the number of times its federal employees told disappointed citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn’t find a single page requested under the Freedom of Information Act, according to a new Associated Press analysis of government data.
In more than one in six cases, or 129,825 times, government searchers said they came up empty-handed last year.Such cases contributed to an alarming measurement: People who asked for records under the law received censored files or nothing in 77 percent of requests, also a record. In the first full year after President Barack Obama’s election, that figure was only 65 percent of cases.
The new data represents the final figures on the subject that will be released during Obama’s presidency. Obama has said his administration is the most transparent ever.
What a joke.
“It seems like they’re doing the minimal amount of work they need to do,” said Jason Leopold, an investigative reporter at Vice News and a leading expert on the records law. “I just don’t believe them. I really question the integrity of their search.”
Mr. Leopold should know a thing or two about the topic. In case you missed it, read his blockbuster article published by Vice News last week: It Took a FOIA Lawsuit to Uncover How the Obama Administration Killed FOIA Reform.
In some high-profile instances, usually after news organizations filed expensive federal lawsuits, the Obama administration found tens of thousands of pages after it previously said it couldn’t find any. The website Gawker sued the State Department last year after it said it couldn’t find any emails that Philippe Reines, an aide to Hillary Clinton and former deputy assistant secretary of state, had sent to journalists. After the lawsuit, the agency said it found 90,000 documents about correspondence between Reines and reporters. In one email, Reines wrote to a reporter, “I want to avoid FOIA,” although Reines’ lawyer later said he was joking.
What the AP fails to mention is what was discovered in the eventual release of those emails. Here’s a hint: America’s Corrupt Media – How Reporters Took Direct Orders from Hillary Clinton’s Staff.
Now wonder they “couldn’t find anything.”
The AP’s annual review covered all requests to 100 federal agencies during fiscal 2015. The administration released its figures ahead of Sunshine Week, which ends Sunday, when news organizations promote open government and freedom of information.
Overall, the Obama administration censored materials it turned over or fully denied access to them in a record 596,095 cases, or 77 percent of all requests. That includes 250,024 times when the government said it couldn’t find records, a person refused to pay for copies or the government determined the request to be unreasonable or improper. The White House routinely excludes those cases from its own assessment. Under that calculation, the administration said it released all or parts of records in 93 percent of requests.
Gotta love that government math.
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