Gov't agencies trying to hide controversial communications?
Obama administration's transparency call into question
- Duration 5:53
- Date Nov 19, 2012
Obama administration's transparency call into question
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-- new questions today about transparency.
In the Obama administration.
As reports surface that EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is one of several officials under congressional investigation.
For allegedly using a private email.
And an alias.
And this and the motivation is allegedly so that she could skirt the rules.
And hide controversial correspondence from the public the press and even internal EPA inspectors.
And she's not the only one being implicated.
For now with more Bradlee former deputy assistant to president George W.
Bush and Marjorie Clifton former consultant to the Obama campaign and principal at Clifton consult.
The the this house committee has launched an investigation into whether ms.
Jackson is trying to get around public disclosure laws because -- we talk about it for the most part.
As a government.
Employee we get to see it you know that the -- -- the file a freedom of information request and you have to give it over to us.
That's why if you're thinking about emailing President Obama anytime soon know that it's all going to be -- eight.
A -- about a matter of public record and retrievable for the -- so ms.
Jackson according to this house committee found a way around that by establishing an alias email under the name of Richard Windsor.
It is -- pro -- this Brad where where is is coming from.
Well this actually from what I understand keep the IG himself over -- EPA but having said that.
What good reason if we use common sense would there be for a high government official to have a fictitious email account.
The fact is that.
It -- just in and of itself the high government official would feel it's necessary to have fictitious email account and had to use that email account.
-- for conducting government business.
There should be -- zero tolerance policy on an administration who promised transparency.
And openness when they did everything but if a high level official like the EPA administrator is allowed to get away with -- as.
But what message does that send to the rest of the government officials were supposed to be working for the people and not working behind their back.
Marjorie apparently there there's a man named Chris Warner who's a senior fellow at the competitive enterprises to -- And also a vocal critic of this administration and its environmental policies who was researching a book and he claims he is the one who discovered that Lisa Jackson is using this alias.
And having you know doing official business under a -- a fake name.
Apparently he's a house Republicans take it so seriously that they've watched this investigation into it what do you make of it.
-- -- how they shed and an absolutely it's necessary to be clear on whether at a government employees are using alternative email addresses heavy wind.
A government employee actually uses -- government computer they have to hit the consent button that says.
Look we can look at anything that you right.
You know in this case again these are all allegations it came when they were doing writing this book and she -- this alternative email address that but wait a -- you can't do that with government business.
Now this is not a foreign concept that's happened fabric that within the Bush Administration there was a huge US attorney general scandal where.
The Republican Convention had created alternative domain that they were using.
And then discovered way to that you can't do that so absolutely we need to understand what's actually happening here is indicative of an epidemic or policy the Obama administration.
That's not necessarily fair to say but we do need to find out what is happening should have come up with a more creative alias I think -- Well that regularly -- we were sitting here thinking you know if you play -- rally that named as it does it.
Do you in trouble think it does is it some sort of inappropriate I don't know I helped thanks.
We weren't able to find any -- all but Downton Abbey I don't know I answered when there I don't know maybe maybe it's like -- There's something -- -- it could be completely isn't Brad and and is there any circumstance under which this is allowed some business gets done on the EPA website and in through the emails and some doesn't.
No as somebody who worked in the west wing as a senior staff member of the White House.
If any of us had an alias that we're using as our -- email would certainly raise red flags as to why we felt it was necessary to do something like that even the president.
Would not be allowed to do the types of things that is alleged against the EPA administrator so certainly.
Anybody who would have that kind of name.
Feel the necessity do it and to conduct government business and it's down.
Did that that has occurred should be fired because there is no good excuse for that type of activity and she's not skirting the rules she's flaunting the rules and breaking the -- That could be an issue allegedly this could be this -- violate the law so I mean that's not about bigger problem for me in a potentially depending on where this goes.
Before the election -- would cover some stories about.
Whether the EPA was planning to -- -- Unleash.
A string of new regulations that would be controversial.
If Barack Obama won a second term and whether the administration to try to keep that under the lead.
Because it might be politically damaging to it you know some of his critics to him thanks to some of -- critics.
Don't it is that what what could be in the Richard Windsor email -- -- it.
If that if that's the kind of stuff that was you know this email is being used for -- gonna see it we're gonna find out about it right.
I absolutely -- anything that is if there is anything suspicious that will be uncovered but at this moment it's all speculation I mean the fact that this woman actually.
Referred this gentleman to this email account.
Might they wanted two things one she didn't she wasn't aware that -- that you -- -- about the fact there's a fake name and a little bit strange no question.
But it could be a number of many different things I mean even at looking at the -- patriots.
Sort of -- to -- the question of you know how our government officials.
In any circumstance having a private life by email and then you know -- public -- but absolutely anything -- -- -- government.
Our government business should be done in government email and -- that's really the thing in question.
Yeah and then we get to look.
And that that and that's -- that's a third element -- -- and Ernie Els and go over all the course voting had although who who knows maybe the Richard Windsor account will be more interesting than most.
-- -- -- -- Thank you thank -- well coming --