The Obama administration’s disappointing record on government transparency is a lesson in the limits of the “trust us” approach to governing, writes ACS Board Chair Geoffrey R. Stone in an op-ed in The New York Times.
Stone, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago who worked with President Obama at the university and acted as an informal adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign, laments that President Obama has not lived up to the promises of “Senator Obama” to “promote openness and public accountability in government policy making.”
Stone points to the journalist-source privilege, whistleblower protection and the state secrets privilege as areas in which President Obama has shown a “disappointing willingness” to continue the Bush administration policy of hiding its decisions from the American public. He notes that one bright spot in Obama’s record was his repeal of a Bush administrative directive that allowed broad classification of government information.
Nonetheless, he writes, “[t]he record of the Obama administration on this fundamental issue of American democracy has surely fallen short of expectations.”