FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Committee to Protect Journalists on the "Transition to Trump"

FOIA News (2015-16)Kevin SchmidtComment

Transition to Trump: What Obama's Freedom of Information legacy means for press

By Alexandra Ellerbeck, Committee to Protect Journalists, Dec. 27, 2016

Obama's decision to keep the report classified is at odds with his pledge to run "the most open and transparent [administration] in history." On his first day in office, Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies urging them to embrace transparency. CPJ and civil rights groups have documented how, in the following years, his administration aggressively prosecuted leakerssurveilled journalists in leak investigations, used the state secrets privilege to suppress evidence in courts about torture and the government's no fly list, and set a record for the use of legal exceptions in responding to freedom of information act requests. In 2013, CPJ published a special report, "The Obama Administration and the Press," that was critical of the administration's record on transparency.

With a new administration taking power under a president-elect whose actions so far--including his refusal to release his tax returnsditching the press pool on occasion after being elected and, by late December, not holding a press conference since his electoral victory--run counter to a transparent administration, journalists and press freedom advocates said they are concerned about access and commitments to transparency.

Read more here.