Thursday, January 28, 2010

Transparency Falters

The Washington Post has reported on bureaucratic inertia in the face of President Obama's promises of transparency and accountability. See

As the report states,

In case after case, the plaintiffs say little has changed since the Bush administration years, when most began their quests for records. Agencies still often fight requests for disclosure, contending that national security and internal decision-making need to be protected.

FOIA expert (and attorney for the numismatic groups in the pending FOIA appeal) thinks the article focused too much on numbers, and not enough on the underlying issue. In his own blog, he states,

I think the real (and more interesting ) story would be why haven't certain agencies implemented policies reflecting the President's FOIA statements and what has the Department of Justice done about this?


I can't agree more. That certainly applies to the US State Department Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs and its continued intransigence in supplying information about import restrictions-- even when it comes to Cultural Property Advisory Committee Reports that are supposed to be provided to Congress and which have been voluntarily produced in the past.

As I have also observed, if anything, the State Department has a special obligation to be as transparent and accountable as possible. State Department officials-- including Secretary Clinton-- have certainly preached the virtues of transparency and accountability to other governments. See

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