From the NYTimes:
“When President Obama took office in 2009, he promised an ‘unprecedented level of openness in government.’ In a memo issued the day after his inauguration, he wrote, ‘The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.'”
When I first read those words in 2009, I took hope that the new president’s thinking would exercise a positive benefit on my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for the JFK assassination records of deceased CIA officer George Joannides.
At that point the CIA had been stonewalling my request for six years and I thought a new policy would remove barriers to disclosure.
I was naive. Obama’s fine words have had no practical effect on the CIA’s determination to keep the records I sought secret. The Agency’s reasoning on why the records had to be kept secret was based entirely on speculative fears.
The CIA and the Justice Department argued, for example, that declassifying any portion of an unclassified record about Joannides’s employment at the U.S. Post Office Censorship Office, dated October 3, 1944, would reveal “reveal internal CIA personnel rules and practices.” The document was originally unclassified, according to the CIA. This document was created three years before the CIA was created.
In short, the president’s open government policy was not strong enough to bring about the release of an unclassified 69-year-old document created by a civilian agency.
When the Times editorial page asks, “What Happened to Transparency?” I think the answer is obvious: Obama has allowed himself to be captured by the national security agencies and their secretive mentality.
CIA admits undercover officer lived in New Orleans (Nov. 11, 2013)
5 Decades Later Some JFK FIles Still Sealed (Associated Press, Aus. 18. 2013)
Justice Dept. denies CIA officer was honored for coverup (JFK Facts,Dec. 17, 2012)
Court uphold public benefit of disclsoure about CIA officer in JFK story (JFK Facts, June 19, 2013)
CIA Still Cagey About Oswald Mystery (New York Times, October 17, 2009)
Morley v. CIA: Why I sued the CIA for JFK assassination records (JFK Facts, Feb. 23, 2013)