State of Self-Parody: History's 'Most Transparent Administration' Appoints a 'Transparency Coordinator'
More than six years after President Obama took office promising the most transparent administration in history, we have now arrived at the moment when the State Department appoints a "Transparency Coordinator."
Not a moment too soon, one might suppose. Perhaps the Transparency Coordinator's first assignment should be to bring more transparency to her own job description. News of the post came by way of a press release from Secretary of State John Kerry, in which Kerry noted a dramatic increase in requests for information from State, but mentioned not a word about the over-the-top administration secrecy that has provoked so many of these requests. Kerry said he was "pleased to announce the appointment of Ambassador Janice Jacobs as the State Department's Transparency Coordinator, charged with improving document preservation and transparency systems."
What might that mean in practice? Go figure. Like Obama in 2009, Kerry went on for a couple of paragraphs about "our commitment to transparency" and how he wants the Department to "lead on these issues," and "set and achieve a new standard," and "harness new technological tools," and "think boldly and creatively" and "fundamentally improve our ability to respond to requests for our records."
How all that committing and leading and thinking and improving might translate in the nitty-gritty real world into State divulging a single additional scrap of information to which Congress or the public is entitled, well, that remains... nontransparent.
Since Kerry offered not a word of explanation for the rising number of requests for information from State, let us fill in a few blanks.