People around the world have always been suspicious of their governments. Americans are no different. If never before, we now have concrete reason to be skeptical and it is brought to you by an administration that promised to be the most ethical, honest and transparent in history.
In 1966, Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). President Lyndon B. Johnson reluctantly signed it. Shortly after the enactment of FOIA in 1967, it became obvious that it would jeopardize the secretive inner workings of our elected officials. Once the power elite identified the American public actually had concern for the sleazy underpinnings of the officialdom it became necessary to plug the holes that released information the questionably honest bureaucrats wanted to hide.
The Privacy Act of 1974 not only weakened FOIA, it offered so many ambiguous exemptions that it now, literally, takes an act of Congress – a Congressional Hearing – to extract information from the government that may be detrimental to the citizens of the country those officials are sworn to serve and protect. We have executives in power who unabashedly hide behind the exemptions allowed by the Privacy Act. The most famous and most abused of which is “national security”.
Other exemptions under the Privacy Act that appear to protect the very people who might be under suspicion of wrongdoing include: internal personnel rules, inter-and intra-agency memos and documents, personnel and medical files or information compiled by or for law enforcement that might interfere with enforcement or deprive a person the right to a fair trial.
With inter-agency and intra-agency memos exempted from FOIA by the Privacy Act, every government agency or department became autonomous and unaccountable. When the Attorney General of the United States, the person in charge of the Justice Department, boldly tells a Congressional Investigative Committee that the term “Fast and Furious” does not refer to the gun walking operation by the code name “Fast and Furious” it is his Clintonesque (“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”) way of delaying and denying due process.
The government now guards more information under exclusion than they tend to release. Holder continues to jam the Congressional Hearings and cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by refusing to provide the documents lawfully subpoenaed to identify the facts.
One political party and only one political party is controlling the investigation and one of those in control is, himself, under investigation. Darrell Issa (R), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has expressed concern that Congress needs to look into the Justice Department records and conduct, but Senate Democrats are stonewalling his efforts.
Democrats in the Senate also recently blocked a resolution to introduce an outside special counsel to investigate a number of recent military and intelligence leaks. Thus, U.S. attorneys under the purview of the Attorney General, Eric Holder, and ultimately reporting to the President will be investigating any wrong-doing within the top levels of government regarding military intelligence and national security leaks. This is the epitome of the fox guarding the hen house.
How far can this nation sink before the radical dictatorships abroad look welcoming?