Is the Government More Open under Obama?

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President Barack Obama promised to make government more open, but it does not appear to be happening.

The number of Freedom of Information Act requests that were denied by the government increased during the first year of his administration.

The Associated Press examined FOIA reports filed by 17 federal agencies.

One of the most commonly used exemptions to the requests allows government to withhold information about internal decision making. Obama has directed agencies to limit the use of that exemption.

Major agencies cited that exemption at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, which is more than the 47,395 times during former President George W. Bush's final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies.

Other FOIA exemptions include information on national defense and foreign relations, internal agency rules and practices, trade secrets, personal privacy, law enforcement proceedings, supervision of financial institutions, and geological information on wells.

The constant use of FOIA exemptions proves how far the government has to go in fulfilling Obama's promise of openness. He told agencies from the FOIA "which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government."

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