By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
President Obama’s administration has blocked more than half a million Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in the last six years, reports WorldNetDaily. This blatant circumvention of the law is causing some in the mainstream media to finally voice their concerns about how President Obama is running the government.
That is, unless you’re David Brooks of The New York Times. “And I have my disagreements, say, with President Obama, but President Obama has run an amazingly scandal-free administration, not only he himself, but the people around him,” Brooks declared on the PBS Newshour on May 29. “He’s chosen people who have been pretty scandal-free.”
That’s simply absurd. Perhaps, for the Obama administration, it’s proven easier to deny the media’s access to information that might reveal further scandals than to admit the truth about its own deep-seated corruption. But as we’ve written, the derelict mainstream media leave “many scandals uninvestigated, minimized, or outright ignored,” including Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, and even the maltreatment of veterans or endangerment of our air travel.
FOIA is one tool for discovering the truth. Newsweek investigative reporter Leah Goodman recently “said there were no Washington-based editors or reporters from major publications on the panel testifying before the [House Oversight Committee] because they were afraid it would have a ‘chilling effect’ on their relations with the federal departments they cover,” according to WND’s Garth Kant.
“Goodman said that was also the reason no one had done a major story on the problems with government agencies stonewalling FOIA requests.”
At Accuracy in Media, we have a lot of experience dealing with the government on FOIA issues, over many years. And they sometimes take years to resolve. As a matter of fact, we currently have filed dozens of such cases in our effort to fill out the record surrounding the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in 2012. What we already know based on previously released information through other FOIA requests and lawsuits, as well as from the public record and individuals who have brought information to our Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, is chilling, and points to a systematic government cover-up.
Leah Goodman, Sharyl Attkisson and others laid bare the record of Obama administration stonewalling and corruption on FOIA at the House oversight hearing this week on Capitol Hill. The most transparent administration in history has been anything but. Even New York Times’ Assistant General Counsel David McCraw complained that the Times has to fight and sue at every turn to get the Obama administration to release information that the public has every right to know. That is ironic, considering that the Times is usually doing all it can to protect and defend the Obama administration. But there are exceptions, as we have cited before, such as New York Times reporter David Sanger who said, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered,” and James Risen of the Times, who said that the Obama administration has been “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”
“When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her staff scrutinized politically sensitive documents requested under public-records law and sometimes blocked their release, according to people with direct knowledge of the activities,” reported The Wall Street Journal last month. Records that Clinton and her aides held back included documents regarding the Keystone XL pipeline and President Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements.
Years later, these very same issues are still inciting controversy, as further Clinton and Obama administration corruption has been uncovered by authors such as Peter Schweizer. “As Clinton Cash makes clear, speech payments by Keystone XL investor TD Bank to Bill Clinton occurred at critical moments when Hillary Clinton’s State Dept. was making key decisions affecting the pipeline,” reports Breitbart News. “Moreover,” citing Schweizer, “Canadian corporations with an interest in the project hired several senior aides from Hillary’s presidential campaign to assist them in their efforts.” Millions of dollars flowed to the Clintons personally for “speeches,” and TD Bank got the decision it was hoping for from Hillary’s State Department. Smoking gun? You decide.
No matter how much journalists like David Brooks try to boldly and falsely assert that this administration remains scandal free, it is clear that the Obama administration is hiding as much information about its corrupt activities as it can, including those brought about by its former Secretary of State. By stonewalling, delaying, and blacking out as much information as possible, this administration is doing its best to conceal the scandalous actions that it has perpetrated.