When President Barack Obama took office, he promised Americans the most transparent administration in history. Just the opposite has occurred.
The situation is getting worse, according to a study of the federal government's responses to requests for records. The Associated Press found that "the government's efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office."
Federal bureaucrats cited "national security" considerations to withhold records 8,496 times last year. That is more than twice the rate of Obama's first year in office.
Much worse was the record on use of another exemption from freedom of information law rules. In 81,752 situations, the government refused to provide documents because they involved how decisions were made.
AP analysts found that more than one-third of the 704,394 requests for information from the government last year were denied.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said withholding records "becomes too much of a temptation. If you screw up in government, just mark it 'top secret.'"