A new report from the Associated Press is tearing the stuffing right out of the Obama administration’s pledge to be remembered the most transparent ever. An AP investigation into the handling of Freedom of Information Act requests found administration “has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records.”
Headlining the categories of information subject to denial is anything related to national security. Let the AP take it from here:
In a year of intense public interest over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times – a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times. The Defense Department, including the NSA, and the CIA accounted for nearly all those. The Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency cited national security six times, the Environmental Protection Agency did twice and the National Park Service once.
Bolded text added to highlight what’s gotta be a great story within a story.
Also notable: Reporters seeking documents on breaking news “fared worse than ever last year.” Among the examples of such stories are the Navy Yard shootings, the Boston Marathon bombings and Benghazi.
And on Benghazi, we have firsthand familiarity with the tribulations of one particular reporter. Now-former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson last year made very public her frustration with the administration’s stance on documents related to the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that claimed the lives of four U.S. personnel. She stated in one report:
The FBI, CIA, Director of National Intelligence, Defense Department, State Department and National Security Agency have rejected or failed to answer multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made by CBS News, as well as appeals of the denials. The agencies cite exemptions related to ongoing investigations or national security.