US Government Refuses To Say Who's On The Intelligence Oversight Board

from the transparency? dept

Remember when President Obama took office and one of his first moves, on his very first day in office was to put out a memo telling the federal government to be more open and transparent in response to FOIA requests? A few quotes from that memo:
A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government. At the heart of that commitment is the idea that accountability is in the interest of the Government and the citizenry alike.

The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. 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. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.
Seems pretty straightforward and certainly sounded like a refreshing change from the ridiculously secret previous administration who hated to share anything if it could avoid it. Unfortunately, it appears that this Day One move was nothing but smoke and mirrors. The current administration has been dreadful about responding to FOIA requests.

A new lawsuit highlights just how ridiculous things have become. The EFF has sued the government after the administration refused a FOIA request to reveal who is on the Intelligence Oversight Board, which is a "presidentially appointed, civilian panel in charge of reviewing all misconduct reports for American intelligence agencies." Only problem? In three years in office President Obama has not named a single appointment to the Board. The EFF wanted to find out who's actually handling the duties of the IOB... and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) simply failed to turn over the info.

The EFF had filed a request to expedite the FOIA request with the original request on February 15th, which was denied on February 17th. They then appealed the denial on February 28th... and have heard nothing since then concerning either the appeal or the content requested about the IOB. Remember, the standard response time for a FOIA request is 20 days, and we're talking months of nothing.

What happened to "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency"?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    The eejit (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Could they not sue for FOIA violations?

    Oh, wait...

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 5:47am

    "the standard response time for a FOIA request is 20 days"

    They got their answer in 2 days. The "appeal" has no timetable set in law.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 5:55am

      Re:

      The appeal was on the request to expedite the FOIA request that was denied, not the FOIA request itself. The standard response time for an FOIA without the expediting paperwork is 20 days. That is if I'm understanding correctly, the government has been doing a damn good job hiding itself in the murky waters (like the NY arrests last week).

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re:

        Chronno, don't fall for the New York thing... I watched the old "occupy wall street" tag on twitter, and there were more lies and shaded truth on there in 10 minutes than a month of techdirt. The arrests were not made by Obama, the federal government, or any of their agencies. They were made by the New York City police, as people were breaking the law. Not really difficult to understand.

        Re-read the order of the FOIA request. It was made and denied.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I watched the old "occupy wall street" tag on twitter, and there were more lies and shaded truth on there in 10 minutes than a month of techdirt."

          I watched your comment for 30 seconds and saw more misdirection and lack of facts than in 5 minutes of a politician's speech (which is an achievement worthy of some sort of prize).

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 5:50am

    Who?
    Top... men.

     

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  •  
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    gorehound (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 5:58am

    Meet The New Boss.................
    Same as the Old Boss

    Anyone think it would be really different in the land of the Free.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 6:04am

    What happened to "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency"?

    Nothing.
    ...What, you thought the US was a democracy?

     

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    randancing (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 6:19am

    Puppet Presidents are all the same.

    How obvious it is that Obama is as much a puppet President as George W. Bush and has no intention of doing anything differently than the things that the corporate puppeteers call for. not only did he not wind down the illegal wars, he has increased them. He moved to protect the big money interests with the bailout and then spent half his time in office establishing the new laws that will take away more of our freedoms, all the while smiling and chanting 'yes we can'. what that means is that, 'yes, the corporate puppeteers can do what ever they like and the american middle will be left with the bill. Ron Paul for President in 2012. Throw the puppets out.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 7:09am

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/02/business/wall-street-protests/index.html

    Obama may be remembered as that guy who let people down and sparked massive protests in US soil.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 4:56pm

      Re:

      Not really. What is likely to go down in history is that a small group of malcontents, the same wackos that show up and the G8 meetings and break the windows at a nearby McDonalds) have found that they can use the internet to stir discontent.

      Sadly, they appear to have sunk to lies and misdirection to try to get people to show up. Radiohead was going to show up. The retired Marines were coming to provide "security". They have tried to rope in everyone from the anti-establishment crowd, the anti-business rabel rousers, all the way down to "students with a education loan" and tried to pile them all together in one place to make it look like there is some mass discontentment.

      To quote CNN:

      "Vincent, 21 and unemployed, has suddenly become one of several unofficial spokesmen for Occupy Wall Street, a leaderless protest movement made largely of twenty-somethings upset with the state of the economy, the state of the war in Afghanistan, the state of the environment, and the state of America and the world in general."

      You know who is there. They apparently took a break from downloading Hurt Locker and moved on to protesting about how bad their lives are and how bad things are and how much they don't want to repay their student loans.

      This isn't a revolution, it's just a collection of whiny children who need to grow up and face reality, which doesn't get fixed with empty slogans and vapid "save the world" chants.

      They will be remembered only as the idiots who wasted their time.

       

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        velox (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 6:47pm

        Re: Re:

        So the OccupyWallStreet protesters are all unemployed, leaderless, whiney twenty-something malcontents?
        Hmm. I wonder which (old) movie this group of protesters at OWS took a break from downloading -- was it Airplane or Airport?

        The AC posting above would have us believe that this protest pits the lazy nonproductive socialist protesters versus productive capitalism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
        Wall Street is being run by people who have used their unseemly and improper influence on government to secure for themselves a huge dollop our tax money at my expense and your expense.
        That's a government hand-out.
        If this was pure capitalism, the folks who took inappropriate risks would have been allowed to go bankrupt.
        Instead we got welfare for banks.
        Well, I'm productive, and as a result, I pay a lot of taxes, and I'm still ticked about the handout of my money. I'm just surprised it took so long for a protest to finally begin.
        Obviously since these C-suite crooks want the rest of us to forget about our dearly departed tax dollars, the best strategy for them right now is to smear and lie about those who are protesting their behavior.
        Disgusting...

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2011 @ 10:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It appears to be mostly people who want more government money, and want to pay less for it. They want the bankers to "pay" for the greed of the masses, for the desires of someone making 20k a year to own a 400k house.

          Are the banks guilty? Yup. Guilty as fuck. Would letting the banks fail fix the problem? Go ask the German people, who today appear to be poised to have their banking system collapse in on itself, potentially plunging that country into a recession that might not have many exits.

          The choices in the US were made by the legal elected people and the staff they appointed. If you don't like it, change the people. But standing on a public bridge demanding "change" when you don't even know what the fuck you really want is a waste of everyone's time.

           

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    mike allen (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 7:24am

    The headline is wrong mike you should know better. You cant put the words government and intelligence in the same sentence.


    oh wait i just did it.

     

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    DOlz (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 9:16am

    Disappointed

    Every time I think I can't get anymore disappointed with this administration something like this pops up. At least with the Cheney/Bush administration they couldn't disappoint me, only pleasantly surprise me. I'm not surprised that they never pleasantly surprised me.

     

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    Rekrul, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 10:31am

    What happened to "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency"?

    It was a lie. You just didn't get to see the second, secret memo that told everyone to ignore the first one.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 5:56pm

    Obama is a criminal.

     

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    velox (profile), Oct 3rd, 2011 @ 6:56pm

    They can't respond to this FOIA request because they'd have to admit that no-one is serving on that board and no-one is performing the duties of that board.
    It exists in name only.

     

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    Miff (profile), Oct 4th, 2011 @ 10:39am

    I still think it should be possible to sue Obama for fraud.

    If a plumber said that he'd fix my sink if I paid him, and he just made it worse, I'd want a refund.

     

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