Jordy Yager, The Hill
The Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report on Wednesday that details what he says are attempts by the Obama administration’s political appointees to thwart and delay the release of information.
The 153-page report, prepared by Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) committee staff, states that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process under President Obama is “less transparent and more politicized” than it was under President George W. Bush.
It includes excerpts of testimony before the panel from six officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and pulls from thousands of pages of agency documents and email exchanges that describe how political appointees have delayed responses to FOIA requests.
“Political appointees do not have a right to stop or delay releases of information through FOIA because they find them embarrassing, inconvenient, or politically sensitive,” Issa said in a statement. “There is no place for this kind of interference in a process designed to create transparency and accountability in government”…
The report asserts that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano oversaw the “illegal politicization” of the agency’s privacy office, which handles FOIA requests, and alleges that DHS tried to interfere with the panel’s eight-month-long investigation into the matter.
“Secretary Napolitano’s political staff attempted to frustrate the present investigation through official non-cooperation, witness tampering, and the attempted theft of committee documents,” states the report.
“Indeed, a cloud of administrative incompetence, illegal politicization and official obstruction now overshadows the front-line guarantor of American’s homeland security.”