Obama Administration Officials Brief Reporters on Transparency Plans…Anonymously

Thursday, September 22, 2011
“Since the first day of his Administration, President Barack Obama has made Open Government a high priority.” Thus begins the latest product of the Obama administration’s effort at transparency—an opening sentence of a report that was unveiled to the media … anonymously.
Not wanting to preempt President Barack Obama when he officially released the National Action Plan for the United States of America, three State Department officials conducted a briefing for reporters to clue them in on the material. But the officials refused to be quoted, as the Associated Press noted, “in apparent contradiction of the goal” of Obama to make government more open to the people.
As one surprised reporter put it at the briefing, “The two people who have spoken to us are not identified, so there’s no transparency about who they are. And because they speak under a cloak of anonymity, there is no particular accountability of what they’ve said.”
The officials shrugged off the oddity, claiming they were doing the journalists a favor by giving them a preview of the president’s upcoming presentation.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Anonymous US Officials Push Open Government (by Matthew Lee, Associated Press)
Transparency Anonymous (by Ben Smith, Politico)
National Action Plan for the United States of America (Open Government Partnership) (pdf)


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