“ABANDONED” PRACTICE UNDER SCRUTINY
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 22, 2010) — On January 21, 2009, Obama reportedly “issued new orders today designed to improve the federal government’s openness and transparency.” On the same day, he limited access to “presidential records” by signing Executive Order 13489 which provided him the ability to “invoke executive privilege” in regard to the release of information and required requests to be routed through his White House counsel.
Obama has refused to release his school records, original birth certificate, medical information or records from his terms served in the Illinois state senate and U.S. Senate, yet stated that “The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.”
Today the Department of Homeland Security has been exposed as having conducted politically-motivated probes of FOIA requesters before releasing any records.
The Associated Press reported that “in July 2009, Homeland Security introduced a directive requiring a wide range of information to be vetted by political appointees for ‘awareness purposes,’ no matter who requested it.”
The political employees charged with reviewing FOIA requests were reportedly “probing for information about the requesters and delaying disclosures deemed too politically sensitive.” Another article states that “Political staffers reviewed information requests submitted by reporters and other citizens as a way to anticipate troublesome scrutiny.”
Nearly 1000 emails were released to the AP after the news agency submitted its own FOIA request and encountered delays. AP reports that the practice of political vetting of requesters has been terminated as of today, but that a Homeland Security employee claimed that that was “a coincidence.”
While Homeland Security personnel insisted that they “were merely reviewing materials” before they were released to requesters, one of the disclosed emails stated: “It is imperative that these requests are not released prior to the front office reviewing both the letter and the records.”
The Hawaii Department of Health was caught doing something similar when they inadvertently disclosed to The Post & Email, which requested and paid for numerous UIPA requests, emails which revealed that they were “checking out” requesters on the internet to determine their political leanings.
A FOIA request made by Mr. Kenneth Allen of Arizona for the travel records of Stanley Ann Soetoro and Lolo Soetoro was made on February 9, 2009, and was not fulfilled, forcing Allen to file a lawsuit. Despite a judge’s order that the information be released by June 30, 2010, in a recent email exchange with Mr. Allen, The Post & Email learned that he still has received nothing. Allen stated:
…not only the DOJ but the Judge is stonewalling now…I believe in my heart they won’t release those docs because they show Obama’s mother was in Kenya at the time of his birth.
Allen had also requested the records of “Barry Soetoro,” reasoning that he should receive them “Because … Barack Obama denies he was ever called Barry Soetoro it shouldn’t be a problem with transparency when it comes to producing the requested records … And because Barry Soetoro is not a citizen, as defined by the law, he isn’t protected by the FOIA.”
Despite Eric Holder’s statement that ““The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, reflects our nation’s fundamental commitment to open government,” the Department of Justice has refused to release any information on “Barack Hussein Obama” or “Barry Soetoro” to Mr. Allen, who had claimed that “Barry Soetoro is neither a citizen of the United States nor an alien with permanent residence and…Soetoro would have had to have gone through immigration and customs at some point between 1961 and 2009.”
A very reliable source told The Post & Email several months ago that several staffers on Capitol Hill have stated that there is no evidence that Obama is “even an American citizen” while the State of Hawaii continues to refuse to release any of his alleged birth information.
In April 2009, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning about “right-wing extremists” which stated:
Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.
While there are footnotes in the above-cited document, no external sources of information are provided.