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PJMedia Sues Department of Defense for Climate Conference Info

What happened to the transparency that candidate Obama promised?

by
Patrick Richardson

Bio

July 2, 2011 - 12:00 am
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Almost three months ago, PJMedia reported the story of a simple Freedom of Information Act request.

Our own Richard Pollock submitted a request to the Department of Defense to try and find out just who was on the four airplanes that flew to Copenhagen for the climate change conference in 2009, how much fuel they burned doing it, and how much it cost. The general thrust of the story was likely to have been “look how much fuel they used going to a conference to decide how much fuel we get to burn.”

Fifteen months later, Richard got back … four blank pages.

After making a few calls and rattling a few cages, we were told that there were many more documents but that the various reporting agencies hadn’t released them yet and a release was “forthcoming soon.”

Two months later still nothing.

So PJMedia got together with Judicial Watch, a non-profit watchdog group in Washington, D.C., and we sued the Department of Defense. The case was filed just last week.

According to the release announcing the lawsuit, Judicial Watch, on behalf of PJMedia, is asking the court to order the Air Force to conduct a search for “any and all responsive records,” set a specific date that PJMedia is to receive the requested documents, and provide PJMedia with a Vaughn index describing the records that are being withheld under claims of exemption.

In the release, Roger L. Simon, CEO of PJMedia took the administration to task:

What happened to the transparency that candidate Obama promised? It has taken almost a year for this administration to turn over a flight manifest and then that document was heavily redacted. The Obama administration has proven itself to be one of the most secretive administrations in history.

I spoke to Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, last week. He says there’s more to it than just the administration not wanting to turn over records. The dirty little secret is that the Air Force has a fleet of luxury jets they make available to high government officials and members of Congress. Fitton also said the records we’ve asked for are readily available.

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