Another broken promise

Transparency.

No administration should be the sole investigator or judge and jury of its own actions. The temptation to keep damaging information from Congress and the American people is too great.

Yet, the White House has denied Congressional requests for information regarding the Ft Hood massacre.

We first requested information on the incident in writing on Nov. 13. We followed that with three other written requests plus numerous follow-up conversations. The administration has refused to provide the key information we need to establish the facts of what happened and carry out our constitutional responsibility of oversight, and so on April 19 we subpoenaed it.

The administration has denied our request to interview the FBI and Defense Department agents who investigated Hasan’s email exchange with Awlaki. It claims some of the agents will likely be witnesses at trial and that congressional interviews could compromise their independent recollections.

But we are not investigating the shooting and have no intention of jeopardizing the prosecution’s case. There is recent precedent for Congress to interview agents who may be prosecution witnesses. The Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 interviewed FBI agents who were involved in arresting the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, even though they were potential witnesses in that case.

The administration has also denied our request to receive transcripts of the prosecution’s interviews with Maj. Hasan’s associates and superiors that were given to the Defense Department’s internal review of the incident. There is no reason why the Defense Department should be able to provide those documents to its internal review—which is separate from the prosecution—and not share them with Congress.

There’s a disturbing pattern here. Let me break it down for you, Mr. Hope and Change is more secretive than those horrible Bush folks.

An Associated Press examination of 17 major agencies’ handling of FOIA requests found denials 466,872 times, an increase of nearly 50% from the 2008 fiscal year under Bush.

On Obama’s very first day in office, he heralded the virtues of transparency and “open government” and issued a memorandum encouraging the agency to favor disclosure when responding to FOI request. Apparently merely saying you’re going to be transparent, without doing one damn thing to carry out that promise, is enough.

The FOI requests that were denied during the Black Panther voter intimidation incident should be, by now, legendary. The case was dismissed by the Justice Department, yet when the people inquired to know WHY, the government refused to justify it’s actions. They’re still not talking. Those gentlemen did nothing wrong, shut-up that’s why.

And, it’s not just the White House. Back in January:

The most recent development, on Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee voted to block any action on the case, as all 15 Democrats voted to reject action while all 14 Republicans voted in favor of more investigation. O’Reilly: “But yesterday the House Judiciary Committee voted 15-14, along partisan lines, not to compel the Justice Department to hand over investigative data in the case. As you may know, Attorney General Holder has stonewalled the investigation, and now the Dems are apparently letting them get away with it.”

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brad-wilmouth/2010/01/16/fnc-house-dems-block-action-black-panthers-voter-intimidation-case#ixzz0mCcJrWRj

A quick review of that case:

KRIS KOBACH, FORMER CHIEF ADVISOR, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: No, you’re not making too big a deal out of it. This is a very serious case of voter intimidation under section 11B of the Voting Rights Act. And, remember, the charges were brought in January of 2009, and these guys didn’t even answer the charges, which is the legal equivalent of basically admitting that you’re guilty. And so the Department of Justice had victory in its hands, and then the new Holder Justice Department came in and said, “No, we’re dismissing the charges against two of the three thugs and against the party, as well. ” Only the guy that had the nightstick had an injunction against him, so very, very troubling because rarely would a prosecutor or the U.S. Justice Department drop charges after they’ve already effectively won the case.

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brad-wilmouth/2010/01/16/fnc-house-dems-block-action-black-panthers-voter-intimidation-case#ixzz0mCcxV5Tt

And, that injunction? He’s not allowed to brandishing a weapon within 100 feet of a Philadelphia polling place. For the next three years.

For a good read on the case, see John Fund’s article.

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