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SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ASKS, “WHO’S NOT FOLLOWING THE LAW?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 14, 2012) —The Senate Judiciary Committee is asking the Obama regime why it is slow or unresponsive in handling requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, told two federal employees that “Secrecy can come at an unacceptable price for the public.” Leahy and ranking member Senator Charles Grassley criticized government agencies of failing to release information under the FOIA law despite its stated claim to transparency in January 2009. The U.S. Department of Justice promised on March 19, 2009 to “usher in a new era of open government.”
This week is known as Sunshine Week on Capitol Hill, but the Obama regime is attempting to conceal a new class of documentation from the public. A Department of Justice employee testified before the committee with the purpose of having Congress pass a bill which would “protect against public disclosures of material about cybersecurity, critical U.S. computer networks, industrial plants, pipelines and more.”
Sunshine Week is sponsored by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), wherein the media, state organizations and writers can bring attention to access to public records.
The hearing was covered on C-Span.
Leahy stated that new laws being considered to shield information from release should be approved “pretty carefully.” Leahy also lauded some improvements which the Obama regime has allegedly made in releasing information. Grassley stated that “release of FOIA responses” are often “politically-motivated” and that the regime is the “worst open government performance in 2011.”
Miriam Nesbit, one of the employees testifying in favor of more government secrecy said, “I do feel like I’m in the hot seat.” She admitted to “backlog problems” in processing FOIA requests and said she “really would prefer not to get into too much detail about the ones who aren’t doing their job.”
Holder spoke about “transparency” prior to the committee hearing and claimed that “two modest improvements” have been made and that the stated goal of transparency is “a work in progress.”
Leahy stated that a report due to Congress by the Office of Government Information Services more than a year ago had not been received and asked Nesbit when her office would submit them. Nesbit responded they were “held up” and Leahy replied, “The recommendations were made over a year ago and we haven’t received them yet. The law requires us to receive them. When will we receive them?” Nesbit said that she “hoped” Congress would receive them “very shortly.”
“Who’s at fault?” Leahy asked impatiently. “Who’s not following the law?” (starting at ca. 30:00)
Nesbit then tried to answer Leahy’s question with a question. Leahy stated that the committee had “the alternative” to issue a subpoena for the information.
Grassley then asked, “Is it her fault or OMB’s fault?”
U.S. Department of Justice Director Melanie Ann Pustay also testified on behalf of the government. Last fall, the DOJ wanted to change a rule under FOIA to allow it to lie about the existence of documents which was opposed by the ACLU and other organizations..
When questions first arose in 2008 about Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to serve as United States President, an image was released at The Daily KOS claimed to be Obama’s official birth certificate confirming that he was born in Hawaii. A year later, then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that Obama’s official birth certificate had been released, but last April 27, another image was released purported to be Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate. On March 1, a six-month investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Posse revealed that the posse’s members had concluded that the “image” was a forgery created on a computer not originating with a paper document.
The White House has failed to respond to The Post & Email’s requests for a comment on the posse’s conclusions. Certain information requested through FOIA about Obama’s alleged mother’s travel and passport records has never been released. At least one source has told The Post & Email that the documentation which was released on “Stanley Ann Dunham” is a forgery.
When The Post & Email posed a series of questions to a government employee about Obama’s purported Selective Service registration, we were told that our questions could not be answered but were given no reason. The Cold Case Posse has also declared that documentation a likely forgery.
How open is Obama if he has claimed that forged documents are authentic? What is he ultimately hiding from the American people about his background which has been requested by means of FOIA requests, court cases, quo warranto actions, and state ballot challenges?