The only thing that is clear is its motive for opacity.
Six years later, we know that President Obama’s pledge to run the most transparent administration in history was merely a campaign promise, a White House talking point, and not a statement of management style. We’ve seen a series of highly publicscandals—Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, NSA, and now, the VA—where Oversight Committees have fought to pry information out of the Obama White House only to receive stacks of redacted documents.
Most recently, we’ve seen court-ordered information provided to nonprofit government watchdog groups in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that have made it very clear why the Administration wanted to keep specific contents hidden. Emails that revealed direct White House involvement in the Benghazi scandal are behind the creation of the new Select Committee. IRS documents show the Tea Party targeting wasn’t a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati, as the Obama administration claimed—instead, now we know it was orchestrated out of DC. Briefing materials point out that the Obama administration has known about problems with VA hospital wait times since 2009.
FOIA requests must be the bane of the “most transparent administration in history.”
Upon his signing of the FOIA legislation in 1966, former President Johnson stated: “This legislation springs from one of our most essential principles: A democracy works best when the people have all the information that the security of the Nation permits. No one should be able to pull curtains of secrecy around decisions which can be revealed without injury to the public interest.”
As shameful as each of these scandals are, they directly impact only a comparative handful of people. We grieve the loss of life, but unless you are a family member or friend of the four brave men killed in Benghazi or of the dozens of veterans who risked their lives for our country only to die unnecessarily due to bad policy at the VA hospitals, your life goes on without consequence.
However, there are other cases that haven’t yet reached “scandal” status (and they may never because it is unlikely that anyone will die) where the Administration doesn’t want the public to know the rationale behind the policy that is universally having a negative impact on all Americans. These stories point to the administrations’ use of bad science to achieve its goal of growing government and controlling people through the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Clean Air Act. Together the practices restrict access to public and private lands for farming, ranching, and energy development, and reduce the availability of affordable electricity—making essential food and power costs ever-increasing.
Read the rest at Red State