The Blog

Ain't No Sunshine

10:39 PM, Mar 23, 2009 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

"In only a few months, the Obama administration has not only given us relief from the infamous 'Ashcroft memo' with Thursday's new 'Holder memo' returning government to a presumption of openness, but it also has indicated it's real commitment to finding ways to improve transparency using technolgy," says Debra Gersh Hernandez, coordinator of Sunshine Week for the ASNE. "These are remarkable and encouraging moves that should be applauded. That said, it remains crucial that the watchdogs on government not be sated by these meaty -- and undeniably satisfying -- bones. They must stay on guard and keep pressing for information that serves the public interest. If there's a legit reason why this report has not come out (i.e. national security or such), officials who have already promised its release owe at least that much of an explanation. But that doesn't mean the watchdogs can, or should, stand down."

Not only is the Pentagon violating the spirit of Holder's declaration and Barack Obama's repeated promises to run the most transparent administration in history, the Pentagon may be violating the law. "Actually, since there are multiple FOIA requests, the agency is now required under the 1996 amendments to FOIA to post the report online," says Blum, of the Sunshine in Government Initiative. "They'll still have to redact classified and other protected information," but the rest of the report should be posted.