(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Obama administration finally turned over hundreds of pages of documents about the military response to the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound and other facilities in Benghazi. The documents, which are heavily blacked out (redacted), confirm that the U.S. Military, through its U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) drafted orders for a military response to the attack, specifically “to protect vital naval and national assets.” Other documents suggest that the military, hours after the attack, tied the assault to a group supporting “an Islamic state” that wanted to attack U.S. interests in Libya in retaliation for a drone strike on an al-Qaeda leader.
After passing the Senate by unanimous consent on Monday, it seemed as if the FOIA Improvement Act would become law—a nearly identical version passed the House earlier this year. Today, however, it was up to Speaker of the House John Boehner to allow a vote on the bill’s final passage before the House adjourned this week. Instead, it was “held at the desk,” meaning Boehner may have just killed FOIA reform.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law, signed in 1966, that gives U.S. citizens the right to access information from the federal government. Through FOIA, journalists and citizens alike have uncovered stories like the U.S. government turning down hundreds of millions of dollars in Katrina aid, the Pentagon ignoring a tip alleging 135 cases of fraud amounting to nearly $200 million, shortages in funding hampering cleanup at hazardous waste sites and 17,000 bridges failing to be inspected on schedule, to name a few.
“It is an uniquely American act, but it is a tool that needs to be continually sharpened,” says Nate Jones, the Freedom of Information Act Coordinator at the George Washington University’s National Security Archive. “The government is pretty good at giving information to people it wants to give, but the Freedom of Information Act is really a gem that allows the public to have a fighting chance to get the information from the government that they want.”
(Excerpt) Read more at newsweek.com …
After using executive privilege to withhold Fast and Furious records for two years, the Obama administration has quietly stopped exerting the power to hide information about the disastrous gun-running operation.
Judicial Watch attorneys discovered the extraordinary about-face in recent exchanges with Department of Justice (DOJ). JW has been a leader in exposing the Fast and Furious scandal and has filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the federal agencies involved in the once-secret operation. Just last month JW obtained records showing that the president’s trusted senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett, was a key player in the Fast and Furious cover-up and that Obama exerted executive privilege for Holder’s wife and mother to conceal emails with the Attorney General involving the operation.
Judicial Watch announced today that it received from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) a “Vaughn index” detailing records about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. The index was forced out of the Obama administration thanks to JW’s June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). A federal court had ordered the production over the objections of the Obama Justice Department.
The document details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal. Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.
The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request regarding 36,000 convicted criminal illegal aliens who were released from federal custody.
The report on the release of the aliens initially came from the Centers for Immigration Studies.
The Obama administration must acknowledge the existence of an independent investigation into former White House senior economics adviser Austan Goolsbee’s alleged unauthorized access to the Koch brother’s tax returns, a court ruled Tuesday.
A federal judge ruled the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) must disclose to watchdog group Cause of Action whether records of an investigation exist.
Cause of Action filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit after TIGTA refused to confirm or deny the existence of the investigation in what is commonly known as a “Glomar response.”
“The court has ruled that the federal government cannot hide behind confidentiality laws to prevent Americans from knowing if our President has gained unauthorized access to their tax information,” Cause of Action executive director Dan Epstein said in a statement Tuesday. “This is a decisive win for all Americans and for government transparency and accountability.”
It took years for Watergate to unravel fully. The controversy over Barack Hussein Obama and his past, along with fraudulent documents continues to make headlines, yet the items needed to actually verify who Obama is continue to be kept from the public eye. Well, that all may be about to change. Attorney Orly Taitz may have just found a chink in the federal government’s armor in protecting Barack Obama from scrutiny, following a judge’s ruling over her Freedom of Information Act request from the Social Security Administration.
Taitz has claimed that Obama uses the Social Security number of Harry Bounel and has submitted several Freedom of Information Act requests for the information from the Social Security Administration. Each time, she has been met with stonewalling by the Social Security Administration.
However, Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander has ruled to give Taitz “an opportunity to file a second amended complaint and add allegations of SSA not doing a proper search and withholding records.”
by: Louise Hodges
I have no use for Barack Obama. I don’t need a President with a history of drug abuse who puts the dreams of his father above the interests of the United States. Obama’s presidency is like a giant sinkhole, swallowing up everything we ever valued as Americans.
It’s almost an insult to our intelligence, to ask us to believe that Obama is a US citizen. He has a schizophrenic timeline of unexplained foreign travel, a list of aliases, and uncomfortable friendships with communists and hostile governments.
We can drop this debate over his birth certificate because we have something even more valuable. We have his mother’s passport files.
This must be what Obama means by transparency:
A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist — even when they do.
Under current FOIA practice, the government may withhold information and issue what’s known as a Glomar denial that says it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records.
The new proposal — part of a lengthy rule revision by the Department of Justice — would direct government agencies to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist.”
That is, the Injustice Department is granting the government authority to evade the law by telling lies. By a remarkable coincidence, the department is headed by a skeevy dissimulator who was recently caught lying to Congress about his involvement in the Fast & Furious gunrunning operation.
Just for laughs, here’s Barack Hussein in January 2009 praising the Freedom of Information Act and promising that transparency would be a “touchstone” of his administration:
In a response filed yesterday to a federal judge’s order May 11, an FBI official offered no denials about the existence of video images captured by more than 20 surveillance cameras operating prior to 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, in the vicinity of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Instead, he explained that officials at the bureau merely cannot find the tapes and raised the possibility that they “might have been misfiled and thus could be located somewhere other than in the OKBOMB file (though it would be impossible to know where).”