The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least they do at the Department of Justice, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
The watchdog group sent a letter to the DOJ today, calling out Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration for dragging their heels on several of the group’s Freedom of Information (or FOIA) requests. Holder and the DOJ’s lack of transparency, CREW argues, runs counter to the president’s campaign promises to run a more open administration than his predecessor.
The letter cites CREW’s requests for information on a investigations involving the Bush administration, including the Dick Cheney’s involvement in the Valerie Plame affair and former Office of Legal Counsel deputy John Yoo’s infamous memos giving the president the legal greenlight to authorize torture.
CREW writes in a release that the “DOJ continues to operate—as it did during the Bush administration—under a presumption of secrecy” and is “deliberately withholding information about what DOJ is up to and why.”
CREW’s letter comes not long after Wil Hylton’s sobering profile of Holder in the December issue of GQ. It describes a politically compromised DOJ, buckled by a fear of relitigating the past and incurring the wrath of congressional Republicans eager for evidence of White House overreach. “The president has promised transparency,” says CREW’s chief counsel Anne Wiesmann, “and the Department of Justice should be leading the way not trailing the herd.”