Obama promises new era of openness

United States President, Barack Obama announced today that his administration will roll back the secrecy that has ruled during the Bush Administration and implement a new era of government openness and transparency.

Referring to the Freedom of Information Act as one of the most important tools of oversight the nation possesses, Obama called on all government agencies to err on the side of openness and release information whenever possible, which directly contradicts orders by the previous administration to look for reasons to withhold information whenever possible.

Americans should "know which decisions are being made" and "how theyre being made, so the American people are well served," Obama said, adding that there is "too much secrecy in this city."

He emphasized that government agencies should act in good faith with regard to the Freedom of Information Act. "Starting today, every agency and department stands on the side of those who seek information," Obama said.

Some reporters, particularly those who traveled with the campaign, might see irony in statements like these, since the Obama campaign and transition were as tight and on message as the Bush campaigns and administration. It is no secret the news media -- the ultimate information seekers -- got as much information out of the Obama team, as it was authorized to give, which usually wasn't much.

Some information relating to national security and privacy would still be withheld, Obama said, but stressed, "Just because you have the legal power to withhold information, doesn't mean you should." Yeah, right.

Obama freezes WH senior staff pay (msnbc.com, 21 January 2009)

Obama Establishes New Era of Openness (Wired blog, 21 Jamuary 2009)