Promises, Promises: Closed Meeting on 'Openness'

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The government is holding a workshop on openness for federal employees Monday. There's just one catch - it's closed to the public.

It's the latest example of the Obama administration's mixed record on the issue.

Upon taking office, President Obama promised that his administration would be transparent.

"The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails," Obama told government offices on his first full day as president.

"The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears," he said.

But so far the White House has been reluctant to turn over several pieces of important information on subjects ranging from the $ 3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, to the military to rules on interrogation of terror suspects.

Civil liberties groups say there's not been much of a change from past administrations.

Jeff Stachewicz is founder of Washington-based FOIA Group Inc., an organization which files hundreds of requests for government records every month on behalf of companies, law firms and news organizations.

"It's either smoke and mirrors or it was done for the media," Stachewicz said. "This administration, when it wants something done, there are no excuses. You just don't see a big movement toward transparency."

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