March 16 is the birthday of James Madison, known as the "Father of the Constitution." Several years ago, the American Society of News Editors initiated a program called Sunshine Week, intended to coincide with the birthday of this illustrious Founding Father. The purpose of Sunshine Week was "to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy."
Despite the forecasted clear skies, there are clouds looming on the horizon. Not surprisingly, the clouds are blowing in from the White House. Despite promises from President Obama that his election had ushered in "a new era of open government," especially regarding its response to the Freedom of Information Act, the behavior of one of his bureaucrats belies this boast.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Justice Department Director of the Office of Information Policy, Melanie Ann Pustay (pictured), called on Congress to weaken the Freedom of Information of Act [FOIA] and strengthen the ability of the federal government to prevent the disclosure of documents deemed critical to the safety of the nation's cybersecurity and infrastructure.
Regarding the appearance of Putsay before the committee of which he is the ranking member, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said:
Based on my experience in trying to pry information out of the executive branch, I'm disappointed to report that agencies under the control of President Obama's political appointees have been more aggressive than ever in withholding information from the public and from Congress. There's a complete disconnect between the President's grand pronouncements about transparency and the actions of his political appointees.
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