"For a long time now, there has been too much secrecy in this city. The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over." - President Obama 2009
This statement now appears to be a contradiction of the actions taken by the administration over the course of the Obama presidency, as well as of their ongoing promise of being "the most open and transparent White House in history" - even with the latest video pronouncement of a new policy by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Obama administration has numerous well-documented cases of not only being closed off and controlling, but of using the federal government to harass dissenters. Take for example, James Rosen's case back in 2010. According to Kirsten Powers in her new book "The Silencing", the administration targeted the Fox News reporter as a criminal "co-conspirator" in a spying case against a government official for simply doing his job as a reporter. The Justice Department, and then- Attorney General Eric Holder, obtained search warrants, secretly seized his phone records, emails, and a phone number belonging to his parents. In a testimony before Congress in 2013, Holder denied any wrongdoing and called spying on a reporter "appropriate."
Fast forward to 2015, and it is clear as day that this administration continues its secrecy and control concerning freedom of information requests.
Back in March, the Associated Press announced that the Obama administration has set a new record for denying and withholding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests - breaking the record it set the previous year.
A report from the Center for Effective Government, an open government advocacy group which analyzed government agencies, found that several agencies were guilty of displeasing remarks regarding the processing of information requests. Not surprisingly, the agency that received the lowest remark, was Hillary Clinton's State Department. According to the same report, the State Department processed only 23% of all requests it received from the American people. This is the same department making national headlines for Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's illegal use of a private email account while serving as Secretary of State.
And, yet, here's a new cringe-worthy YouTube video of Michelle Obama telling the American people that the Obama Administration is the "most open and transparent" White House in history - because it now lets you take pictures while on a White House tour.
Labeled "A Big Change," the YouTube video introduction says:
On July 1, 2015, the White House lifted its long standing camera and photo ban on public tours. Lifting this ban which has been in place for over 40 year is part of an ongoing effort to make the Obama Administration the most open and transparent White House in history.