Violating the Digital Privacy Rights of Americans
Pentagon Stonewalls Corporate Spy Probe
by Tom Burghardt
April 10, 2011
When Politico reported late last month that President Obama quietly received a “transparency” award “in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House,” I first thought it was an April Fool’s gag.
But as with all things Obama, the joke is on us.
Reporter Abby Phillip revealed that during a “secret presentation” which had been “inexplicably postponed” two weeks earlier, His Changeness received high marks from “Gary Bass of OMB Watch, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Patrice McDermott of OpenTheGovernment.org.”
Let it be said, these organizations do yeoman’s work uncovering official waste, fraud and abuse and have done much to expose state crimes (past and present) committed by the U.S. government.
Nevertheless, in callous disregard for his supporters (which should be an object lesson for those who believe the secret state can be “reformed” from the inside), the White House failed to post the meeting on the president’s public schedule and barred photographers and print journalists from recording the august event.
OMB Watch’s Gary Bass found it “baffling” that the president wouldn’t want to trumpet his award; after all, hadn’t Obama promised his would be the most “open” administration in history?
For her part, OpenTheGovernment.org’s Patrice McDermott expressed “disappointment” that the meeting was held in camera and “surprise” when they learned the event was “not on the President’s daily calendar.”
Caught off-guard by the White House McDermott averred, “Why they decided to close the meeting to the press is not something we understand.”
Scarcely a week later, we learned that the administration will soon seek legislation from Congress that would “punish leaks of classified information” and authorize “intelligence agencies to seize the pension benefits of current or former employees who are believed to have committed an unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” Secrecy News revealed.
Given the embarrassing fact that the award was bestowed “in honor of President Obama’s commitment to transparency,” even as his administration hounds and prosecutes whistleblowers with a ferocity not seen since the darkest days of Watergate, the question is: why is there still such a profound disconnect between the harsh realities of White House policy and its perception management amongst those who should know better?
Digital Privacy? Forgetaboutit!