President Obama ran on a platform of transparency. He praised whistleblowers. “Such acts of courage and patriotism,” he said, “should be encouraged rather than stifled.” He was intensely critical of the Bush administration that “ignored public disclosure rules.” The president and his staff have both said, “This is the most transparent administration in the history of our country.” Yet his administration has been even more secretive and hostile toward public disclosure than the previous. He has cracked down on whistleblowers (and the journalists who they leak to) more than any other administration in history. He has brought nearly double (5) the number of indictments against whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined (3), and is currently working on another.
On top of this war on whistleblowers, the president has fought Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. “Two years into its pledge to improve government transparency,” the Associated Press reports, “the Obama administration handled fewer requests for federal records from citizens, journalists, companies and others last year even as significantly more people asked for information.” In November, Obama's Justice Department proposed a rule that would allow them to lie about the existence of documents that were of national security concern. Last month, CEI's Chris Horner called the administration the "most secretive ever," and listed many ways in which under Obama, FOIA requests have been thwarted in the most underhanded ways.
Today, Horner has reported new outrages in Obama’s transparency war. He writes that "the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Criminal Division, is working with United Kingdom police to pursue the leaker of the 2009 and 2011 'Climategate' emails. I have learned that last week DOJ sent a search-and-seizure letter to the host of three climate-change 'skeptic' blogs. Last night, UK police raided a blogger’s home and removed computers and equipment." He continues:
The leaked records derailed “cap-and-trade” legislation in the U.S. and, internationally, as well as talks for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The emails and computer code were produced with taxpayer funds and held on taxpayer-owned computers both in the US and the UK, and all were subject to the UK Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and state FOIA laws.
They also were being unlawfully withheld in both the UK (by the University of East Anglia) and the U.S. (Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including stonewalling me for two years, and three other requesters for longer).
The hunt involving U.S. and UK law enforcement agencies is now escalating. On Wednesday night UK time, six detectives with the UK police (Norfolk Police Department) raided the home of at least one blogger, removing his equipment to look for clues to the identity of leaker “FOIA 2011.”
On December 9, DOJ sent a preservation letter under 18 U.S.C 2703(f) to the publication platform (website host) Wordpress. This authority authorizes the government to request an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to preserve all records of a specific account for 90 days while the feds work on a warrant.
Norfolk PD affirmed to the subject of at least one of their raids that this international law enforcement hunt is for the leaker, meaning not for those whose acts the leaker exposed by making public emails containing admissions in their own words.
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