President Obama's secrets


This is one of those posts that I hate writing, because I keep wanting to fall back in love with President Obama without reservation. That won't happen, and this L.A. Times editorial describes one of the main reasons.

By the way, as I said here, I will still vote for him because the alternative is unthinkable, but I have been very concerned about proposals and/or policies like these:

One of the most disappointing attributes of the Obama administration has been its proclivity for secrecy. The president who committed himself to "an unprecedented level of openness in government" has followed the example of his predecessor by invoking the "state secrets" privilege to derail litigation about government misdeeds in the war on terror. He has refused to release the administration's secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which two senators have described as alarming. He has blocked the dissemination of photographs documenting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. service members. And now his Justice Department has proposed to allow government agencies to lie about the existence of documents being sought under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

At present, if the government doesn't want to admit the existence of a document it believes to be exempt from FOIA, it may advise the person making the request that it can neither confirm nor deny the document's existence. Under the proposed regulation, an agency that withholds a document "will respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist."

This policy is outrageous. It provides a license for the government to lie to its own people and makes a mockery of FOIA.

As unpleasant as this is to read, it must be acknowledged, and as the president suggested himself, we must hold him accountable when we feel he's on the wrong track.

However, compared to the disturbingly inept, unprofessional bunch of right wing nut job misfits who are running against him, well, 'nuff said.

You can read the whole piece here.