Obama Secrecy Watch: Don’t Trench on My ‘Executive Prerogatives’

Newsweek reports in its Declassified blog:

As we previously noted, our colleague Weston Kosova gave the Obama administration some much-needed grief on Friday for refusing a federal judge’s recent order to turn over documents showing how big telecommunications firms lobbied to get immunity for their participation in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program.

But that is actually only one of many examples of how Obama appointees are standing up for Bush-era secrecy.

In just the last few days, virtually unnoticed by most of the news media, administration officials have:

* Rejected a new Freedom of Information request for White House visitor logs (despite their announced intention to start making such documents public).
* Appealed, yet again, to invoke “state secrets” to block a lawsuit that might shed light on the CIA’s extraordinary rendition of terror suspects to countries that practice torture.
* Gotten Congress to pass legislation that would prevent graphic photographs of detainee abuse by the U.S. government from ever becoming public. (Update: Obama on Thursday signed into law a homeland security bill that exempts from the photos from the Freedom of Information Act.)

And all of this is in spite of Obama’s vow—in a memo on the first full day of his presidency—to create “an unprecedented level of openness” in government.

We intend to keep track of these matters regularly on Declassified…

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