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The fight for transparency

Sep 19, 2018

The tempo has increased since the start of the new Hebrew year September 10. President Trump has declassified at least 20 pages from the FISA report, because these pages had been classified only to hide the crimes of the FBI and DOJ. Such reasons for classification are illegal, according to President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order 13526. See Sec. 1.7, where Obama ordered:

(a) In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:

 (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;

 (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;

 (3) restrain competition; or

 (4) prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.

https://h2o.law.harvard.edu/collages/44146

Yet Eric Holder, the former Attorney General under Obama says that Trump’s declassification order is “a clear abuse of power.”

https://twitter.com/EricHolder/status/1042020158489944064

I suppose that depends on the nature of the declassified material, so we will see shortly if those 20 pages should have been classified to begin with. It is more likely that certain politicians are deathly afraid that their sins will be exposed by this declassification.

Whatever happened to the transparency that Obama promised us many years ago? He was probably the least transparent of all past presidents.

Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted about Trump, saying, “Lawless. He is absolutely lawless… Using his power to selectively release classified information is an abuse of power.”

No, Mr. Swalwell. Presidents were given that power for a reason. It is within his power to do so, and this means Trump is NOT being “lawless.” In fact, if material has been unlawfully classified in order to “conceal violations of the law” or “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency,” then Trump would be violating the law by NOT declassifying it.

Lawlessness is when presidents write laws and then ignore them. But perhaps Trump ought to accommodate Mr. Swalwell by releasing ALL of the FISA memo. That way, he could not be accused of being "selective."

So let us wait and see what these pages tell us before we jump to conclusions.


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Category: News Commentary
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones