Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: The FOIA’s in the Mail

From the newspaper this morning a column (sub/ad req) on my frustration with the disconnect between the Obama administration’s soaring rhetoric about public information and transparency and the gritty reality faced by those in the trenches trying to get public information:

With the arrogance of a federal agency that has become accustomed to a lack of accountability for its breathtaking history of delays and cost overruns on big nuclear projects, the National Nuclear Security Administration refuses to release key documents that might answer these questions.

It is hard to know whether the agency is trying to cover up some serious problems that would be revealed by the documents, or whether it is simply a bureaucratic instinct (common at the agency) to circle the wagons to avoid embarrassment over its woeful nuclear project management record. Whichever it is, it clearly does not reflect the sweeping language of one of Barack Obama’s first executive orders when he took office in 2009: “A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.”