Upon entering office in January of 2009, President Obama promised us an era of openness and transparency in the federal government.
He set a policy in place mandating that federal records be released when requested by the public, on the premise that "sun-light is said to be the best of disinfectants." He instructed the executive departments and agencies to operate with a presumption towards disclosure when handling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. On this point he stated as follows:
"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."
These instructions were followed up by further instructions in a memo from Attorney General Eric Holder on March 19, 2009. The Attorney General stated as follows: Continue>>>