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Transparency update: Sebelius, other Obama appointees, using secret email addresses; Labor Dept. tried to charge A.P. $1 million for FOIA docs

By Doug Powers  •  June 4, 2013 09:55 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

2009: “For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city … the Freedom of Information Act is perhaps the most powerful instrument we have for making our government honest and transparent … Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency”:

With that out of the way, let’s check in on how that’s going…

Former EPA chief Lisa Jackson, aka Richard Windsor, was apparently the rule and not the exception when it came to multiple and secret email accounts:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of President Barack Obama’s political appointees, including the secretary for Health and Human Services, are using secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages, according to a review by The Associated Press.

The scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery: Most U.S. agencies have failed to turn over lists of political appointees’ email addresses, which the AP sought under the Freedom of Information Act more than three months ago. The Labor Department initially asked the AP to pay more than $1 million for its email addresses.
Ten agencies have not yet turned over lists of email addresses, including the Environmental Protection Agency; the Pentagon; and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Treasury, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, Commerce and Agriculture. All have said they are working on a response to the AP.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz declined to comment.

Read the entire story here and stand in awe at the historic level of transparency. Keith Koffler has more on the Labor Department’s million dollar request here.

Using secret communication strategies recently got a reporter named on a DOJ warrant as a possible co-conspirator for espionage, but when the Most Transparent Administration in the History of the Universe™ does something similar it’s merely a spam avoidance technique?

Brace for Jay Carney to pin the blame for these secret email addresses on a couple of rogue IT guys in Cincinnati.

Update: Carney said this on Tuesday:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued Tuesday that the accounts aren’t secret and, in fact, prior administrations have followed the practice of appointees having second government accounts.

“This is a practice consistent with prior administrations of both parties,” Carney said.

The people who campaigned on promises of “historic and unprecedented levels of transparency” saying “hey, this is how everybody else did it” is a source of endless amusement.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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