Monday, May 5, 2014

President Obama's directives on Open Government and Transparency

In preparation for the posting of the Freedom of Information Act information received from the Coast Guard, this information bears reposting once again.

In 2009, President Barack Obama announced that Federal Agencies were to err on the side of openness when it came to Freedom of Information Act Requests. and 

Attorney General Eric Holder’s memo reinforcing President Obama’s directives also applies:

“FOIA professionals should be mindful of their obligation to work ‘in a spirit of cooperation’ with FOIA requesters, as President Obama has directed. Unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles have no place in the ‘new era of open Government’ that the President has proclaimed.” -

As stated in these public expressions of openness and transparency within government:

"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."

As explained, the information requested in all of these Freedom of Information Act requests is of great public interest. We have seen CGC STORIS, a nationally significant historic ship, designated as a historic resource worth preservation by listing on the National Register of Historic Places. STORIS was exported for scrapping in Mexico as a direct result of the actions of several U.S. Federal Agencies and a shady "metals recycling" company. It has already been established that there are illegal aspects of this situation. We deserve to know the truth. The people responsible work for US, the American taxpayer, and they are not above reproach nor are they above the law. Their actions are open to scrutiny and criticism and they need to face accountability and responsibility for what they’ve allowed to happen.

This obstructionist pattern of actions by the various agencies involved, blocking our attempts to secure information related to STORIS is certainly NOT ERRING ON THE SIDE OF OPENNESS.

This is our government withholding the truth. While I suspect when we learn the truth it will be ugly, we deserve to know the truth, nevertheless.

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