Yesterday on CNN, White House chief of staff Jack Lew defended the Obama administration's involvement in the Fast and Furious scandal by saying that "this administration has been the most transparent ever."
"So why did you all invoke executive privilege this time when there are some who feel there is something a little shaky taking place?," CNN's Candy Crowley asked.
"Well, Candy, let's go back to the facts," Lew said. "The facts are that this was a bad plan, the Fast and Furious, it is something that started in the Bush administration. The attorney general did not know about it. It came out of the region. And when the attorney general learned about it, what he did was stop it. He said it was wrong and he said we are going to do it. There was a period of time when the attorney general did not know about it, because it was happening at a regional office, that a statement was made to Congress that had to be corrected. The attorney general corrected it. Every document related to the decisions up to that point has been shared. This is not a question of finding facts, this is a question, Congress, at the beginning of this investigation, said they were going to use their investigatory powers in a political way. This is a political, not a substantive question."
Crowley responded: "Is there something so important about these papers that you had to invoke executive privilege from a president that had previously said, what is the point here?"
"Candy, this administration has been the most transparent ever," Lew claimed. "Taxpayers can go online and find out more about the way their government works than ever before. Every president since George Washington has taken executive privilege seriously. Every Republican president has."
In 2009, President Obama said in a statement on the Freedom of Information Act that "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."
Obama and administration officials also pledged to run the "most transparent administration in history."
In light of today's announcement that President Obama is using executive privilege to cover Attorney General Eric Holder from releasing Fast and Furious documents, it's worth remembering what Obama said in 2007 about this practice: