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Obama Administration Withholds FoIA Requests More Often Than Bush's

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-conspiracy-necessary-note dept.

Government 601

bonch writes "Agencies under the Obama administration cite security provisions to withhold information more often than they did under the Bush administration. For example, the 'deliberative process' exemption of the Freedom of Information Act was used 70,779 times in 2009, up from the 47,395 of 2008. Amusingly, the Associated Press has been waiting three months for the government to deliver records on its own Open Government Directive."

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601 comments

Biased much? (2, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527006)

Breitbart.com? Really? Has Slashdot become Free Republic?

Re:Biased much? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527058)

And which progressive and left-oriented site WOULD write about this, on the condition that it was true?

Because you DO realise that the only difference between your system of fairness and totalitarian-fascism is the premise that leftwing sites would write about everything that was true and relevant, so that you can legitimately reject everything on other sites as biased?

Re:Biased much? (1, Insightful)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527156)

I'd mod you up if you would've logged in..

I DON'T understand why I haven't seen this on thinkprogress.com, no idea.

Re:Biased much? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527324)

If I had been logged in, I would have been treated like a breitbart.com was treated in this case, and the precise content of what I had said would always be drowned out by a chorus of argumentation. If you have unpopular views, being AC is the only way to have people consider whether those views are actually accurate or not, which is all I want.

Re:Biased much? (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527244)

And which progressive and left-oriented site WOULD write about this, on the condition that it was true?

An honest one.

Re:Biased much? (5, Insightful)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527726)

hehe, he asks which progressive and left-oriented site would write about it, you answer an honest one, but don't provide any....does that mean there are no honest left-oriented sites?

Re:Biased much? (4, Informative)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527584)

For whatever it's worth HuffPo posted the AP article.

You'd be surprised (4, Insightful)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527830)

Watch a little Rachel Maddow, read a little of the HuffPo, you'll be surprised just how many times liberal sources DO report on stuff like this. The liberal blogosphere is kinda pissed that Obama isn't the far-left bleeding-hear socialist that conservatives make him out to be, and they call him out on it quite a bit.

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527102)

It's an interesting topic if the numbers are correct. It warrants some explanation at the least. Perhaps insane FOIA requests are up from 2008, or maybe the Obama administration is taking secret keeping lessons from Steve Jobs. I don't think one year comparison between the two administrations is really fair. We should probably wait until Obama's first four years are over. Who cares where the original story was from if the topic of conversation is true?

Re:Biased much? (5, Insightful)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527226)

Totally agreed. That it is from breitbart is utterly irrelevant. And the raw number is not too interesting unless you know the number of requests, and probably the specific agencies (and topics) the requests were for. Though while, yes, more years will reveal better data, there's nothing wrong with looking at it in-progress.

Re:Biased much? (1, Interesting)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527422)

Devil's advocate: If a good story came out of Stromfront, would you link to it?

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527542)

Comparing stormfront to Breitbart? Really?

Look at the byline of the linked story

"By SHARON THEIMER
Associated Press Writer"

You won't see that over at Stormfront because Stormfront is a fraking White Supremacist BBoard.

Re:Biased much? (1, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527632)

Who's comparing? I asked a question based on his comment that where an article is posted is "utterly irrelevant."

Re:Biased much? (1, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527434)

Though while, yes, more years will reveal better data, there's nothing wrong with looking at it in-progress.

Although, of course, there IS something wrong with jumping to conclusions based upon incomplete data.

And you know just as well as I do that the article at breitbart is intended to lead people who like to jump to conclusions that support their politics.

Re:Biased much? (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527904)

of course, there IS something wrong with jumping to conclusions based upon incomplete data.

I wasn't jumping to conclusions.

And you know just as well as I do that the article at breitbart is intended to lead people who like to jump to conclusions that support their politics.

You mean the ASSOCIATED PRESS article at Breitbart?

Re:Biased much? (1, Flamebait)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527706)

breitbart is utterly irrelevant

Bullshit. You're giving attention and ad revenue to a political operative. As others have indicated, Slashdot could have linked to a "neutral" reproduction of the AP article.

Re:Biased much? (1, Funny)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527908)

Bullshit.

False.

You're giving attention and ad revenue to a political operative.

Bullshit.

Re:Biased much? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527278)

You are correct it is interesting and warrants further reading but maybe some of use don't want to give clicks to a website so ridiculous he has a whole dedicated "bighollywood" subdomain? AP is no bastion of journalistic integrity either. People should learn they are a coop of newspaper writers that pushes controversy on both sides.

Re:Biased much? (5, Informative)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527280)

FTA: Google edition:
The agencies cited exemptions at least 466,872 times in budget year 2009, compared with 312,683 times the previous year, the review found. Over the same period, the number of information requests declined by about 11 percent, from 493,610 requests in fiscal 2008 to 444,924 in 2009. Agencies often cite more than one exemption when withholding part or all of the material sought in an open-records request.

So, the number of requests declined 11% and the number of exemptions was much higher.

Awesome.

Re:Biased much? (1, Insightful)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527430)

cited exemptions at least 466,872 times in budget year 2009

the number of information requests...444,924 in 2009

Doesn't this raise any red flags to you? Maybe that these "facts" indicate that they cited more exemptions than there were requests?

Re:Biased much? (2, Informative)

carluva (963158) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527586)

Did you even bother reading the whole comment? "Agencies often cite more than one exemption when withholding part or all of the material sought in an open-records request."

Re:Biased much? (2, Interesting)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527732)

It seems only 1 exemption is required to reject a request. Is it possible that the Bush administration didn't bother with enumerating all the exemptions, whereas the Obama administration is more thorough? Just a thought.

Re:Biased much? (4, Insightful)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527792)

That's the whole point. It makes the numbers meaningless, and therefore makes the conclusion invalid. The important statistic would be "percentage of FOIA requests denied". I'm guessing that THAT statistic didn't *jive* well with the author's pre-conceived conclusions, and so was conveniently ommited.

Re:Biased much? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527816)

This tells me that we still don't have enough information to make any conclusions. We also need to know how many exemptions (on average) were claimed per request. If requests overall were down 11% (as was noted in other comments on this topic), but the number of exemptions claimed for each request went up (from 2 to 3, for example), we would expect an increase in the total number of exemptions claimed.

However, the only real way to judge openness would be what percentage of total requests were denied, regardless of how many exemptions were claimed in each denial. It's odd that this article includes lots of seemingly incriminating numbers without including that key piece of data, almost as if the entire purpose of the article is to drum up controversy regarding something that may or may not be a cause for concern.

so the numbers are not comparable (2, Insightful)

Xylantiel (177496) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527858)

Do you realize that line means the numbers quoted are not comparable. If more than one "exemption" can be cited per request, then the number of exemptions, which they are quoting, does not actually tell you how many FOIA requests were withheld. It could easily be that the Obama administration is being more clear about what is being withheld and why for any given request, and that leads to a larger "exemptions" count. The problem is, without more info the numbers obviously do not mean what they are being represented to mean.

Re:Biased much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527608)

It is common to say "We aren't going to reply to your request because X and Y". That is two exemptions claimed (one of exemption X and one of exemption Y), for only one request.

The reason an agency might do this is that they are afraid someone might order them to stop using exemption X, at which point they still don't have to do anything because Y still applies (and vice-versa).

But that's ok, because we've got Hope and Change now, so it's fine that Openness and Transparency fell by the wayside.

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527730)

Reposting to my own comment:

From TFA:

Agencies often cite more than one exemption when withholding part or all of the material sought in an open-records request.

Making these numbers, and this article completely meaningless. Perhaps the Obama admin is just more "open" in citing multiple exemptions.
I would like to suggest that everybody now go back and RTFA on today's why you should stop mindlessly quoting statistic [slashdot.org]
Or for more fun, voting for Gore causes death by cancer! [slashdot.org]

Re:Biased much? (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527880)

They denied FOIA requests in their entirety based on exemptions 20,005 times last fiscal year, compared with 21,057 times the previous year.

I think all that can be said from these numbers is that they don't add up to a conclusion.

Re:Biased much? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527440)

Of course, this administration has been more proactive about releasing data, so it's at least possible that the decline was a result of much of the data that might have been requested being readily available, masking the actual stats.

Half of them were requests for a birth certificate (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527850)

After all, threats against the president's life have tripled since Obama was elected ;)

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527300)

We should probably wait until Obama's first four years are over.

I'm always amused when people say something like this...you all remember we're not actually required to elect presidents for two terms, right? I think relatively few people of either party believe he's doing well enough, so far, to deserve a second term in any case.

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527524)

I don't think one year comparison between the two administrations is really fair. We should probably wait until Obama's first four years are over.

Unfortunately, by that time it will be a moot point. If we assume that he doesn't get reelected, then the we will only be able to look back and say "yep, Obama was more secretive." If we assume that he does get reelected, then we still lose those 3 years of having greater information available. Those are 3 years that you cannot get back. Either way, we lose something by waiting another 3 years.

Biased is two way street (1)

KharmaWidow (1504025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527738)

Who gave Bush 4 yrs before they howled, vandalized, bitched and moan - and ridiculed!?

Re:Biased much? (4, Informative)

longacre (1090157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527148)

It's an Associated Press story. Here's the same story hosted on Google [google.com] if it makes you feel better, oh and Yahoo [yahoo.com] , too, and Salon [salon.com] , oh and the Philadelphia Inquirer [philly.com] .

Re:Biased much? (5, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527150)

Meaningless, it's an AP story. Would you feel better reading it on The Stamford Advocate [stamfordadvocate.com] ? Or the San Jose Mercury News [mercurynews.com] ?

I'd also like to point out that a knee-jerk accusation of bias sounds and awful lot like . . . bias.

-Peter

Re:Biased much? (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527164)

The headline is misleading, despite the source. The source was willing to go as far as saying that this figure is in spite of Obama's own directive to stop using these loopholes for the FOIA. So whether it is lack of proper pressure, simple insubordination, or a deluge of requests (these figures should appropriately be compared to the overall requests, right?) the bottom line is that the President directed it to not happen and it is happening anyway.

Re:Biased much? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527488)

or a deluge of requests (these figures should appropriately be compared to the overall requests, right?)

That's the first thing that crossed my mind. For example, Hawaii is still getting hit with requests for Obama's birth records.

If someone requests 10 times something that's legitimately blockable, do those 10 still count to the denied requests?

Re:Biased much? (2, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527508)

In the Bush days, the President was responsible for everything that happened, regardless if he directed one way or the other.

(Looking forward to that mod-down now, thanks much.)

Re:Biased much? (1)

viridari (1138635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527202)

Look again. That's straight from the Associated Press.

Re:Biased much? (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527954)

Dude, the other day there was a link here from DailyKOS. The editors are equal-opportunity offenders. Don't give slashdot credit for having any direction whatsoever other than "free fall."

Needs more data (1)

ICLKennyG (899257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527018)

It doesn't mean anything until we get request comparison numbers and there is more than one exemption for FOIA. What about the others?

Re:Needs more data (4, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527190)

FTFA:

The AP's review of annual Freedom of Information Act reports filed by 17 major agencies found that the administration's use of nearly every one of the law's nine exemptions to withhold information from the public increased during fiscal year 2009, which ended last October.

Re:Needs more data (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527320)

What are the exceptions to "nearly every one of the law's nine exemptions"?

Re:Needs more data (1)

OdoylesRule (1765008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527260)

Request comparison numbers: "Major agencies cited the exemption at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, up from 47,395 times during President George W. Bush's final full budget year, according to annual reports filed by federal agencies. Obama was president for nine months in the 2009 period." So... that would be an increase of 23,384 denials if my math is right.

Re:Needs more data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527314)

From the linked source:

The agencies cited exemptions at least 466,872 times in budget year 2009, compared with 312,683 times the previous year, the review found. Over the same period, the number of information requests declined by about 11 percent, from 493,610 requests in fiscal 2008 to 444,924 in 2009.

The original source is actually the AP. The original can be found there.

So they got 11% less requests. They go on to explain why there can be more than one exemption for a given request

Re:Needs more data (5, Informative)

pudge (3605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527350)

The original article does have some additional data, for example, in addition to the "deliverative process" exemption going up to 70,779 from 47,395, total exemptions also went up, to 466,872 from 312,683. Most damning, though, seems to be that total requests went DOWN, from 493,610 to 444,924, which means that they cited more exemptions than they actually received information requests (I wonder if that's ever happened before).

Re:Needs more data (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527942)

The original article also continues: "They denied FOIA requests in their entirety based on exemptions 20,005 times last fiscal year, compared with 21,057 times the previous year."

Damming indeed.... *rolls eyes*

Re:Needs more data (1)

bangwhistle (971272) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527480)

Indeed. From TFA:

The agencies cited exemptions at least 466,872 times in budget year 2009, compared with 312,683 times the previous year, the review found. Over the same period, the number of information requests declined by about 11 percent, from 493,610 requests in fiscal 2008 to 444,924 in 2009.

Makes it sound like most requests were denied? Not sure how to interpret those numbers. Also, without a time breakdown of the requests who can say which were issued during FY2009 (Oct 2008-Jan2009) when Bush was still in office vs. the latter part? Let's compare Obama's first full year (or term) in office with Bush's and then make a call.

Following a link in the article to the DOJ figures, denials actually went DOWN during FY2009. As secrecy in the DOJ was one of the hallmarks of the Bush administration this is encouraging. Numbers are still high, but coming down. I'll give him a full term before calling him a disappointment.

Re:Needs more data (1, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527528)

Agreed. It's the same as when MS says that Linux/BSD is less secure because it had more fixes in a certain time period than Windows did in the same time period. It tells you nothing about (1) Severity, (2) Potential for exploit, (3) Timeliness of fix, etc.

All that is mentioned is that the Obama administration turned down more requests in the first full year than the Bush administration did in it's last full year. So what if the Obama administration is just cleaning out what the Bush administration left behind. I can see that in the last year of an administration, things might not be done in a timely manner.

Well, I must say (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527026)

That's change I can believe in.

I'd like to be surprised - but it seems like all the presidents are mostly interchangeable these days.

Let Down.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527050)

Feeling a bit let down by the current administration, I am.

Re:Let Down.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527200)

Here and agree with you well, I do. Proved to be no different and at times much worse, Obama administration from Bush one, they did. Hoping that with hope comes real change, we are.

Surprised? (2, Insightful)

OdoylesRule (1765008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527090)

Is this really surprising?

Re:Surprised? (1, Insightful)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527180)

Only to people that buy political bullshit by the ton.

Re:Surprised? (-1, Troll)

OdoylesRule (1765008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527404)

How come you get a 2 score and I get a troll mod? ;)

Re:Surprised? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527612)

I post by default at +2, but give it time :-)

Re:Surprised? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527662)

i got a troll mod too for suggesting the numbers were being run up... obviously if the conspiracy is worth all the trouble of submitting the requests, it's worth the same to maintain enough accounts on popular websites supporting moderation features to kick down all the troublesome thinkers.

this story is meaningless until all of the requests are categorized and filtered for duplicates and irrelevant items.... perhaps 20,000 of the requests were for information on troop counts on mars... should the government respond?

i don't care for either of the established "sides" of government, i'm just pointing out the massive amount of fluff in stats like the ones presented in this article... completely useless.

No, but not for the obvious reason (5, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527448)

The first reaction, especially given the headline is, Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

But, as pointed out in the article: "Obama's directive, memorialized in written instructions from the Justice Department, appears to have been widely ignored."

Then we look into the details. The fiscal year that this article is covering started in October 2008 and ended in October 2009. So for the first quarter of the time period covered by this article, we weren't even in the Obama Administration.

Also, if we assume that the decision to exempt information from FOIA requests is made by senior officers in the respective agencies, and we know that Bush had 8 years to appoint people who shared his views, and that the Senate Republicans have been doing an impressive job of blocking and delaying Obama's appointments, let alone the "cleaning" that occurs once the new bosses are in place.

Should it come as a surprise to anyone that this last year was no better, and perhaps even worse than the previous year? Absolutely not. I would expect that this coming year should show improvement, provided the white house is willing to back up Obama's directive now that they have had time to get more of their appointments into positions of authority.

That said, I sure hope this article makes it to the President's desk and that he thinks long and hard about it.

-Rick

Excuse me? He's the President (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527104)

I believed Bush when he said it was for our protection, I believe Obama when he says it's for our protection.

What's the matter? Why don't you trust Obama? is it because his skin is black? Seriously wtf guys, he's the President so I trust him and so should you!

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (4, Insightful)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527232)

I know you are trolling but one of Pres. Obama's big campaign points was that he was going to "change" Washington. He was going to run this wide open and "transparent" government. So far he has been anything but transparent. It's disappointing, I had some hopes about Pres. Obama (and I did not vote for him).

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (2, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527466)

Have you seen what he's up against? The Democrats were never as obstructive to President Bush.
The problem is that Obama's main idea of change - bipartisanship - is the least productive way of making change
in America.

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527714)

Bullshit. Bipartisanship works both ways... The Democrats are asking the Republicans to "work with us", yet the Democrats are refusing to do the same! If you disagree, please explain the purpose of the closed door meetings between Dems and the Pres on healthcare. In what way can a closed meeting promote "working together" when half of the decision makers are not even invited...
 
    What he's up against? He made his bed (By touting "change" and "openness"), and now he needs to lie in it... The truth has come out in the past year. He's a politician... Plain and simple. Sure, his campaign made it look like he was something different, but the reality of the matter is in the end of the day, they are all politicians...

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527760)

Liar! You are an absolute liar! Go ahead and mod me down shout out that I posted anonymously The fact is this reply will ALWAYS point to your comment as being a lie!

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527806)

He didn't say change* in his campaigning. He said CHANGE period. Why are you making excuses for him?

* only if it is easy

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527828)

Have you seen what he's up against? The Democrats were never as obstructive to President Bush.

The only people stopping Obama are angry voters, and the Dems he can't get on board with his agenda. Note...the Dems control BOTH Houses of Congress by a wide margin. He's not "obstructed" by the R's, as they can't do squat to stop him. They can't even filibuster now that they have Scott Brown since the D's are happy to use Reconciliation.

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527924)

Indeed. Obama should quit trying to deal with these fools. It's 'No' for everything that contains even a small item that the Republicans disagree with. Bipartisan ship means that the right-wing folks need to accept some of the left wing folks' ideas. Instead it's just no no no even when the bills incorporate ideas from the Republican. Hell, Republicans who promised to vote Aye if Item X were placed in the bill still voted Nay!

Check the proposed Republican health care bills. They contain maybe 5% Democrat ideas. Republicans aren't interested in bipartisanship. They want it their way.

Re:Excuse me? He's the President (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527374)

That's right. If you are not with us, you must not be against us!

"Often"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527106)

Often implies a rate... denied requests per requests total.

Its nice to know how many total denials there were... but out of how many total? Whats the percentage?

(No, I didn't read the article.. back to lunch)

Re:"Often"? (2, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527332)

FTFA:

The agencies cited exemptions at least 466,872 times in budget year 2009, compared with 312,683 times the previous year, the review found. Over the same period, the number of information requests declined by about 11 percent, from 493,610 requests in fiscal 2008 to 444,924 in 2009.

So total requests went down and the number of denials went up.

Re:"Often"? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527456)

If I understand it correctly, more than one exemption can be used in a single denial. It's entirely possible that more exemptions are being filed while at the same time a higher proportion of requests are being honored, with the rejected requests simply getting multiple exemptions where before they would only get one. Not saying this is the case, just that even with those numbers it's not possible to see the whole picture.

Re:"Often"? (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527678)

So total requests went down and the number of denials went up.

Not necessarily. The number of "cited exemptions" is not the number of denials, it is closer to the number of reasons for denial. Like a lawyer, these agencies will frequently cite more than one reason to avoid release. It may even be that given Obama's directive to be more open to FOIA requests that the agencies are just covering their asses and citing a lot more exemptions when they do deny a request. For example, if the average number of exemptions went from 1 to 2 per denial, that would mean an actual decrease of about one third in actual denials since 2008.

The truth is, I trust him more than Bush (-1, Flamebait)

Zot Quixote (548930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527152)

Transparency is great, but there are times when it is pragmatic to not be transparent. I don't trust the Republicans not to use this to oppress people. The Dems...well they have their vices, but I don't feel like I personally an being threatened by an oppressive regime. Also, Breitbart is doesn't have much credibility after some of the nonsense that's gotten on there. Breitbart and Drudge are in bed together and are essentially the web's version of Fox News. Hopefully people will get around to realizing that sooner rather than later.

Re:The truth is, I trust him more than Bush (4, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527230)

1) This is an AP story, Breitbart didn't write it.

2) If you don't think 2,000 pages that nobody has read which rebuilds 17% of the US economy according to the whims of a couple hundred Democrats doesn't represent an oppressive regime, then I don't know what to tell you.

Re:The truth is, I trust him more than Bush (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527272)

Why do you particularly trust Obama more than Bush? Obama's allegiance is, like Bush's was, to large corporations; it is simply a different set of corporations. When it comes to what is best for the people of America, both Obama and his administration operate under the assumption that the only way to benefit American citizens is to increase the profits of American corporations, even if that means subverting democratic processes at home and abroad. If you are not worried about your government sidestepping the very democratic principles that it was founded upon, then what exactly were you worried about when it came to Republicans?

Re:The truth is, I trust him more than Bush (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527670)

I have realized at least one thing. You are a fucking moron.

How many FOI requests in 2009? (0)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527172)

If the same number of FoI requests were submitted in 2009 in 2008 then there is reason to be angry. However, if there were twice or three times the requests, then an increase in denials is consistant.

However, there had damn well better be good reason for this. O promised to be a more open administration.

RTFA! (3, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527310)

The agencies cited exemptions at least 466,872 times in budget year 2009, compared with 312,683 times the previous year, the review found. Over the same period, the number of information requests declined by about 11 percent, from 493,610 requests in fiscal 2008 to 444,924 in 2009.

Seriously, there is no need to speculate when the information was right there in front of you eyes.

Re:RTFA! (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527428)

There is something strange about those numbers...like more exemptions than actual requests? Maybe I am reading it wrong...

Re:RTFA! (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527490)

Read your stats: Apparently they cited more exemptions then there were requests. There is something fishy with these numbers.

Re:RTFA! (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527690)

This is slashdot. The article is not 'right in front' of anyone's eyes :P.

Re:RTFA! (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527812)

so there were 444,924 requests in 2009 and 466,872 of them were refused?

i am confused.

Re:How many FOI requests in 2009? (1)

mdkathon (579667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527458)

I am in total agreement with arkham6. The AP does not go into the real numbers. This is your normal, mainstream, boring news story with bad statistics. What was the jump or drop in percentage of denied FOIA requests? Anyway... Just more hot air to keep us fighting over Obama.

is someone running up the numbers? (1, Interesting)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527220)

it wouldn't surprise me if anti-obama spinsters would repeatedly request denied items just to contrive this story. out of context it's meaningless.

Re:is someone running up the numbers? (1, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527702)

it wouldn't surprise me if anti-obama spinsters would repeatedly request denied items just to contrive this story. out of context it's meaningless.

Not sure why your post was marked troll, even if it's a little paranoid. It's quite likely that teabaggers and other anti-obama people have affected these nnumbers, even if unintentionally.

I think the nature of the requests probably has a lot to do with it. A lot the people who submitted FOIA requests that related to their frustration with the prior administration (1) had given up/stopped caring prior to 2009 or (2) knew what they were doing, so were less likely to submit a request that would be denied.

In comes Obama, and all the sudden you have a change in where a lot of the FOIA requests are coming from. People without experience in submitting them... people who make errors in submission, those who submit requests for information they know won't be released.

Let's compare numbers after a few years, one year (especially after a huge administration change) does not make a good sample.

Re:is someone running up the numbers? (2, Interesting)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527894)

Except the only people with enough time on their hands (artists, welfare, ACORN workers, etc) to make tens of thousands of requests tend to be Obama supporters...

I'm with the Dark Wraith on this one (0, Troll)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527224)

You can't look at Obama as left/right lib/conservative, you have to consider him as authoritarian.

http://www.dark-wraith.com/ [dark-wraith.com]

He had him pegged as this at least a year ago, if you check his archives.

Dave

Re:I'm with the Dark Wraith on this one (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527966)

All politicians are 'authoritarian' to Internet Libertarians.

Today's Government (2, Insightful)

jmactacular (1755734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527248)

It's amazing how much hoopla goes into picking and voting for a particular party, when government is so much bigger than just one man (or woman). It makes you wonder if anything will ever, or can ever, change.

Re:Today's Government (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527876)

buy guns.

Wager (0, Flamebait)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527344)

How much do you want to bet that at least 30,000 of those requests were for Obama's birth certificate?

Obama is the great unifier ... (2, Insightful)

hargrand (1301911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527348)

... and he doesn't need to answer to the ignorant masses or explain himself to them.

Denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527390)

is a river in Egypt.

The media can win this (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527412)

If the media really cared about open government and barring corruption, they would be publishing daily headlines about denials to FOIA requests, how long they have been waiting, and what the alleged reason is. If the press did their job and informed the people rather than preach propaganda, people could be better armed with information to put pressure on elected officials and force them to move on come election day if the officials don't mend their ways.

Re:The media can win this (2, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527578)

Agreed. If we knew everything we probably should we probably wouldn't be rooting/campaigning/supporting any of the current array of politicians in office today, or the past 20 years or more. Perhaps we'd throw down our pom-poms and start being a more United America.

If you didn't vote libertarian you ASKED FOR THIS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31527634)

This is one more piece of evidence that proves there is no difference between the republicrats or democans. If they were truly concerned about the constitution they would be more transparent, not more secretive. When the government keeps more secrets they are proving they can not be trusted as they are doing things that would not be constitutional. Both parties have demonstrated what George Bush II stated, that the constitution is "nothing more than a god-damned piece of paper." This is why it is imperative to vote libertarian.

--
A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself.

Last year vs. first year (0)

Chess Piece Face (247847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527642)

So Obama's numbers are higher in his rookie year than Bush's after eight years of experience? Well, duh. Give the guy a chance to figure out the process. Also, give us all eight years of Bush's numbers to look at.

The Nine Exemptions (4, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527890)

(From the EPA report, though all agencies use the same criteria)


a. Exemption 1: Classified national defense and foreign relations information
b. Exemption 2: Internal agency rules and practices
c. Exemption 3: Information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law
d. Exemption 4: Trade secrets and other confidential business information
e. Exemption 5: Inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges
f. Exemption 6: Information involving matters of personal privacy
g. Exemption 7: Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual
h. Exemption 8: Information relating to the supervision of financial institutions
i. Exemption 9: Geological information on wells

Some of those exemptions provide for a certain amount of creativity on the part of the denier.

Obama almost doomed this nation, but we got better (0, Troll)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527892)

Our founding fathers had a dream: they set out with the goal that G-D should provide for the people of this great nation, and that the government would not interfere. That's why they won our independence from Ireland in 1812. For a while, our Country got along fine. Now, everyone talks about bad presidents, but I want to talk about a recent one: Obama almost ruined the dream of our Founding Fathers. He tried to remake this nation in his image between the years of our Lord 2008 and 2012, and was the worst president since Roosevelt! I know, I know, but everyone hates on Roosevelt. I wanted to do something different.

Obama, if he'd gotten his way, would have had my hard-earned taxpayer dollars to educate other people's children, improve roads for other people's SUvs, and to defend other people's homes from fire. He was really a fascist, socialist nutjob: what kind of society does that lead to? I mean, when you help out other people, all anyone does it sit around all day waiting for a handout. And after that, what happen is sodomy, and even worse, atheism. I'm glad Sarah Palin put a stop to that when she beat Obama in 2012. I'm glad we don't have elections anyone. Sometimes elections lead to bad people like FDR and Obama being in charge. I can't wait for Sarah's next State of the Union: I hear she'll have five tanks at this one! Those soldiers are soooo cute.

*giggle* but anyway, I mean, at first, Obama's reign wasn't all that bad. He tried to force credit card companies to not give the American people certain offers; he called them "lies", but as Ronald Reagan said, it's really government that's the problem. If he'd been on Mount Rushmore back then, he would have cried. I do have to give credit where credit is due: he stopped those evil commies using the "freedom of information" act to give away our government to China. That law should have been called the "freedom of spying act". I mean, if Sarah hadn't repealed it, China might have found out we'd nuke them in 2019.

The worst part of Obama's reign was when he tried to ruin the best healthcare system in the world by shoving rules and regulations and taxes down our throats. I'm glad that was repealed. Today, we still have the best health care system in the world. If I'm successful, someday I hope to be able to buy into it! I hear they can actually cure tuberculosis! My parents miss too many days at the factory because they keep coughing up blood. I'd love for them to be able to work real, honest 65 hour weeks like God said they should. That way, we could get our own place!

But I digress. This speech is about hope for the future. If we all work hard, we can earn more and more until we get into a lower tax bracket and we're happy. Isn't that what life is about? I know everyone can do it: if at our class reunion, you're poor, it's because you're a bad person, and I know none of my friends are bad people.

- Cynthia LeBaron, Texas, class of 2027 graduation speech

the missing birth certificate statistic (4, Funny)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527900)

What goes unmentioned:

97% of the millions of denied FoIA requests that make up this statistic were requests for Obama's birth certificate.

that's nothing - you should read Greenwald (0, Troll)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#31527936)

The Obama Administration claims to the right to slay U.S citizens in "targeted killings" in the GWOT. But like the Bush Administration before it, the Obama Administration defines the "battlefield" as the entire planet. Which means that Obama claims the right to assasinate [salon.com] U.S. citizens anywhere, by invoking that magic word that suspends the Constitution: "terrorist". Nevermind that you can only be a suspected terrorist until you're convicted in a court of law. Nevermind that many of these people are not out on the front lines fighting American troops, but going about their daily lives when they are hit by a drone attack (see recent Slashdot discussion [slashdot.org] .

Then Obama is patting himself on the back [salon.com] for his transparency and accountability, at the same time he's issuing veto threats over bills that would strengthen Congressional oversight of intelligence.

But this really doesn't make any damned sense. It did for poppy Bush, because he was a CIA man. But Obama never worked for the CIA, so acting like a hard neocon on military/intelligence issues is baffling. Just as his acting like a neoliberal corporatist is baffling, as he's a self-made man and owes very few people any favors (compared to your normal politician).

Change you can believe in!

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