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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Obama Administration Sets New Record For Failed Public Records Searches

Not surprising coming from a White House that consistently ignores laws they do not agree with  

RT
03/18/2016

President Barack Obama’s promise to have the “most transparent administration in history” doesn’t hold water, as the government has set a new record for failed public records searches under the nation’s transparency laws.


In 2015, the government failed to disclose any documents for nearly 130,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, according to an Associated Press analysis that involved all requests made to 100 federal agencies.

Notably, the FBI failed to find any related documents to 39 percent of FOIA requests it received, while Customs and Border Protection came up empty handed 34 percent of the time. The Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office covering New York and New Jersey failed to stump up for a staggering 58 percent of requests.


In 77 percent of all cases, the Obama administration either censored documents it turned over, or simply withheld their release. That amounted to 596,095 cases, also a new record. In 250,000 of these cases, the administration said it couldn’t find records, that the request was unreasonable or improper, or that the person making the request would not pay for copies.

Under FOIA rules, individuals, organizations and journalists who make requests should be given access to the documents in question – except in cases that may harm national security, violate privacy rights, or reveal trade secrets or decision-making processes.

However, many journalists and advocacy organizations have blasted the Obama administration for making it more difficult to obtain records through FOIA. Some have even testified before Congress that they would wait months or years for the government to respond to requests, or accused the authorities of not being forthright.




"It seems like they're doing the minimal amount of work they need to do," Jason Leopold, an investigative reporter at Vice News and an expert on FOIA, told the AP. "I just don't believe them. I really question the integrity of their search."

Sometimes, the government will deny that any records exist only to uncover thousands of documents after lawsuits have been filed. When Gawker sued the State Department over its failure to hand over any documents related to communications between journalists and an aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the agency uncovered 90,000 documents.

The Obama administration said that roughly 770,000 requests were completed last year, but the White House has come under fire from critics who say it is undermining the law and exempting itself from far too many requests. The administration used FOIA exemptions 466,402 times during Obama’s first year in office, according to the National Press Club – a 50-percent increase over the last year of the George W. Bush administration.




One reason behind the slow processing of requests could be that the more efficient an agency is at honoring FOIA, the more inundated it will be, David Sobel, senior counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said at a recent National Press Club panel.

“I don’t think you can underestimate the power of bureaucracy” in impeding openness, “and it transcends any administration,” added Michael Doyle, a legal affairs correspondent at McClatchy Newspapers.

White House opposition to efforts that would reform FOIA has also been reported, however. Earlier this month, Vice’s Leopold reported that the Obama administration actively lobbied lawmakers to kill reform, despite the fact that separate bills passed the Senate and the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. Lawmakers failed to reconcile the differences between the two bills and no reform bill was ever brought to a final vote.




Following a lawsuit by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, documents related to the reform effort were released, and a secret Justice Department memo relayed that the Obama administration “strongly opposed passage” of FOIA reform, arguing it would increase the backlog of requests and raise costs.

"The Administration views [the House bill] as an attempt to impose on the Executive Branch multiple administrative requirements concerning its internal management of FOIA administration, which are not appropriate for legislative intervention and would substantially increase costs and cause delays in FOIA processing," the document read. "The Administration believes that the changes are not necessary and, in many respects, will undermine the successes achieved to date by diverting scarce processing resources."

Despite failures to reform the law, journalists still believe it is essential for informing the public, noting that it took a FOIA request to reveal how reform was killed.




"This FOIA reform bill was incredibly modest, had already been watered down, and had the unanimous support of both parties — something that, in today's political climate, almost never happens," Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of Press Foundation, told Vice. "Transparency advocates have been very cynical of the Obama administration's claim that they're the ‘most transparent ever,’ but the fact that they opposed virtually every aspect of this bill is sadly a new low."



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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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