Posted: October 17th, 2013
Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act was initiated by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. He saw the need of transparency and implemented the Act in 1967 (Moore, 2005). This Act ensures the public has access to information it deserves to know. The government has the responsibility of disclosing its records to the public if they request to access them. In cases where the government withholds information, the intention of withholding the information should be justified to the public (Moore, 2005).
The article discusses some of the secrets that the public needs to know about the Bush administration. The secret documents that people want to be publicized include documents containing information about what treasury did with money that was allocated for people who had lost their assets. The public also wants to know why the government allowed the torture of innocent Americans during interrogations claiming that it was in the best interests of the country. This kind of information is very important so that the public understands how the government operates to avoid friction with public offices.
Information about hurricane Katrina should also be made public. People want to know what plans the government is making to avoid similar situations. When Katrina struck, the whole country was caught oblivious and measures to save lives and property were hurried. Since people do not want the same to happen again, they want the government to keep them in the loop about its preparations and procedures about handling disasters of any kind.
Since president Obama got into office, there have been numerous letters requesting that he releases to the public documents from the bush administration. These documents are believed to contain information that is considered highly enigmatic. Those who worked for the bush administration claim that the documents could not be released then because they were “internal memos and also contained information about trade secrets” (Nation, 2009). Members of the public found this hard to believe since even Congress had not seen those documents.
There is mounting pressure on the Obama administration to order for the release of these documents by various humanitarian groups. These groups believe that the profanity of these documents warrants their instantaneous release to the public because the public deserves to know. Obama is said to be defending the bush administration and all their discretions. This, even after white house lawyers admitted to discovering emails that had been accounted for as destroyed. As president, Obama could order the release of those emails. However, the justice system continues to protect the bush administration making it harder to gain access to these documents.
One of the activist groups wants to know why names of the visitors to the white house are kept secret. This group believes that the public has every right to know the names of those who visited the white house during the bush era regardless of the purposes of their visits. The group’s efforts to get that list o names has proved futile as the vice president ordered the secret service not to release the list under any circumstances. Obama can make this list public; all he needs to do is give the order.
The justice department also needs to disclose how cases used to be handled and how they are being handled presently. Its policies also need to be made known to the public. The Obama memoranda advocates for absolute transparency between government and the people. In his efforts to demonstrate this transparency, he should release emails from the bush administration and emails and documentation from his administration. These measures are of the essence if president Obama wants to be re-elected back into office.
March Issue. The Nation. (2009) Retrieved from: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090316/wiener
Moore, A. D. (2005). Information ethics: Privacy, property, and power. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.