Obama Admin. Won’t Give Out Officials’ Secret E-mail Addresses

By:  Michael Tennant
06/05/2013
       
Obama Admin. Won’t Give Out Officials’ Secret E-mail Addresses

The Obama administration has largely refused to provide the Associated Press with a list of top officials' secret e-mail addresses, which can be used to keep official communications from the public.

The president who promised “an unprecedented level of openness” is in charge of an executive branch that communicates via secret e-mail accounts, making it difficult, if not impossible, for federal agencies to provide complete responses to document requests. What’s more, reports the Associated Press, the Obama administration appears to be stonewalling requests for the addresses of the secret accounts and records related to their creation.

Until now, few of these nonpublic accounts were known to exist. The best-known was an account used by former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson. Using the alias Richard Windsor, Jackson “coordinate[d] propaganda and policy with media allies, ‘green’ groups, and policymakers to advance the Obama administration’s radical ‘environmental’ agenda,” The New American reported in February. On Monday the Washington Free Beacon revealed that “Richard Windsor” had been “awarded numerous certificates for ethics and records management” by the EPA, including being named a “scholar of ethical behavior.”

“The scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery,” the AP writes. “Most U.S. agencies have failed to turn over lists of political appointees’ email addresses, which the AP sought under the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] more than three months ago.”

One of the few agencies to respond to the AP’s request was the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The department provided the e-mail addresses of approximately 240 appointees, but none for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — not even the one published on the department’s own website. The AP pushed back and was finally given three addresses for Sebelius, including a secret one. HHS asked the AP not to publish the secret address, but the AP — perhaps still steamed over revelations that the Obama administration had covertly obtained the news service’s telephone records — printed it anyway, pointing out that Sebelius wields vast power, including that over the implementation of ObamaCare. In addition, the AP found that “at least two other senior HHS officials … also have secret government email addresses.”

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