While the attention nationally has been on the server of Hillary Clinton and the ongoing investigation, there is a new development in the effort to acquire another set of emails that should cause public outcry. Two years ago, the State Department officially stated that there were no emails responsive to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about a close Hillary Clinton adviser’s contact with the media. Now, after the intervention of a federal judge, the Department has admitted that it has located 17,855 emails that appear to match the criteria. From 0 to 17,855 and no one seems particularly bothered by the false statement of the State Department in its early response to the lawful request under FOIA. No one is under review at the State Department for possible termination or even discipline. No one is being transferred or retrained. The government first says that there were no emails and then is forced to admit that there are potentially thousands. It is being treated as just another day in the life of our government.
It has been years before anyone seriously in the Administration has claimed that it is “the most transparent Administration” ever — as President Barack Obama once pledged. The Obama Administration instead has set new lows for its pursuit and prosecution of whistleblowers and reporters as well as classifying and withholding information on potentially embarrassing actions or programs. For that reason, there was not much surprise that the White House chose this week — with the National Freedom of Information Day and the Sunshine Week — to remove a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act.
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (aka Otteray Scribe) Guest Blogger
First there was WikiLeaks, then there was Edward Snowden. The drip, drip, drip of information about secretive spy agencies continues. There have been bombshell revelations about the extent to which government agencies like the FBI, CIA, NSA and others are invading our most private communications. Of course, spies do what spies do, and that is to spy on whoever or whatever they can get away with. Few people understood the implications of PRISM when news of the program was leaked. Additionally, I suspect that despite revelations of its existence, the full extent of its capability and reach will never be known by the public.
The NSA reportedly paid tech companies millions of dollars to cover the cost of compliance with their “requests” for back-door access to the software package.
Another program to keep in mind is the FBI Stingray operation that sucks up wireless telephone communications. Last May, in the first litigation where the government admitted having Stingray, Arizona Federal District Judge David Campbell dismissed a motion to suppress. Judge Campbell is a George W. Bush appointee. PDF of his ruling is here. Last July, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in the Northern District of California, in an effort to learn more about Stingray, and if it is scooping up domestic phone calls.