White House believes in freedom for rest of world — but not Freedom of Information at home

Desmogblog has the story:

Last month, I filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to the Office of Administration in Washington DC, asking for copies of any records “relating to the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission, formerly known as Triana, from the period January 1, 2000 to the present.”

I then received this strange response from Whitehouse Deputy General Counsel F. Andrew Turley, stating:

Please be advised that the Office of the Administration, Executive Office of the President is not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Your letter therefore is returned without further action.”Strange.

I sent my letter to the Freedom of Information Act Officer for the Office of the Administration.

Why would they have one if they are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act?

Hardly the strangest or most secretive thing this Administration has ever done, but noteworthy nonetheless.

11 Responses to White House believes in freedom for rest of world — but not Freedom of Information at home

  1. Ron says:

    And you trust government to tell you the truth and to solve your problems …… Why?

    And you think there is a significant difference between Republicans and Democrats …… Why?

  2. Joe says:

    No one trusts government to tell the truth — that’s why we have FOIA and a free press. I do believe there are problems that won’t be solved without government leadership — the environment being the classic economic externality that the market-place doesn’t protect by itself.

    I think the vast majority of Democrats are prepared to take serious action necessary to avoid catastrophic global warming — and most Republicans, certainly most conservatives, simply are not. If we elect another conservative president who blocks all domestic and international action on climate for the next 8 years, we can kiss goodbye a hospitable climate for the next 50 generations.

  3. Ron says:

    I think you needn’t worry about a ‘conservative’ president next time around. I think enough people are fed up with Bush and the Republicans that the Democratic nominee, whoever that ends up being, will win the election. And I’ve been saying for years it will be Hillary Clinton.

    Several weeks back there was a poll of Republican voters in which the winner was ‘none of the above’. That says a lot.

    But I’m not really sure that ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ are useful descriptions anymore. I don’t see much difference between the two parties these days; no differences that really matter when it comes down to the bottom line.

    In the past, liberals were often defined by the way they spent money, but by that standard we’d have to classify Bush as a liberal! He has spent more of our money, faster, than any president in history. If that’s all it took to keep the economy humming, just a lot of FDR-esque spending, then our economy should be growing and our dollar strong.

    And that’s one of the problems I have with this issue, the ‘liberal’ solutions to global warming. And you want new regulations, new tariffs, new subsidies….

    Here’s the thing: I don’t believe the AGW hypothesis (I’m trying to get some answers over at, btw), but if you ARE right, I’d like to see the technological fixes you have in mind developed in the private sector, in a free market, where they would have the best chance of working. When the government decides it needs to order hammers, they wind up costing $300. Know what I mean? And that was under Reagan.

    And I’d like to see the world saved without new regulations, tariffs, taxes, and subsidies, because government is just inefficient by nature, and economic controls are counterproductive, and it just won’t work if you turn it all over to ‘public policy’.

  4. Joe says:

    No price for carbon dioxide, no reason for its use not to keep rising.
    You may have missed my critique of Shellenberger and Nordhaus, but I think private sector spending is infinitely more important than public sector spending in solving the climate problem. That said, you need smart government regulations to unleash the power of the free market to solve this problem.

  5. Ron says:

    I’m getting ignored over at Realclimate – and I swear I was very polite! Nobody has called me names yet, but they haven’t responded to my questions, either. I’ll try again tomorrow, maybe in another thread.

    Are you sure those guys over there are scientists? They sound like students.

  6. Jay Alt says:

    I read once the claim that China and France had offered to launch the DSCOVR satellite for us and that this was refused. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

  7. john says:


    Conservatives keep repeating “government is inefficient, private sector is efficient” as if it wer some religious mantra, but it just isn’t always true. Take health care — overhead on the government programs is less than 5% and care is better; it’s 30% or more on privately delivered services, and care is worse. That’s one big reason the US is at or near dead last by most measures of cost per dollar of health care delivered among developed countries.

    Or take social security — the overhead is (depending on who’s stats you use) somehwere between 2 and 4 percent. Privatized versions of the system here and in other countries came in as high as 14% (some much more)– and they don’t even have the disability insurance SS has.

    Or take energy — for years the US had the most reliable and cheapest energy in the world — yet this system is one of the most heavily regulated activities in the economy. In fact, utility deregulation largely stalled when private entities attempted to scalp and cheat consumers in order to maximize profits. In health, in energy, and in a myriad of other areas, private sector incentives are profoundly missaligined. Health insurance companies make money by denying health care, for example.

    As one of this year’s Nobel prize winning economists said, the unconstrained market works well if all you care about is generating currency — but if you’re intersted in providing services (which much of economic activity is all about) it’s simply not that efficient. In fact, that finding as means of overcoming it were the reason he received the Noble prize.

    Another mantra seems to be “government regs bad- free market good.” But take our securities and exchange regulations — the US still attracts more capital than any other market. Why? Until recently, at least, our regualtions made sure markets were honest, fair, transparent, and played by a set of rules that gave everyone a level playing field. It’s possible to get 100% returns in relatively unregualted markets in Zaire at the moment, and anyone who believes this “gubmint’ regs are bad” stuff, should be plunking down their money down there … but somehow, there seems to be few takers.

    So, bottom line, this whole myth of the magic markets providing all good things by pure serendipity is flat out wrong — marekts work best when boundary conditions and rules are clear. Moreover, the myth of the bumbling bureacrat and bad ol gubmint espoused by Ronnie et. al. simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny or facts.

    But my bet is you’ll ignore this realities and the ever-growing evidence supporting them, or you’ll raise some strawman response. Your world view depends upon yout twin myths being true.

    Which may be why the very good, peer-reveiwed scientists at real climate are ignoring your questions — my guess is, you’re questions have the answers embedded within them — sort of like a “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” class of inquiry.

    Moreover, they probably expect you to read and educate yourself on the science, before you challenge them. My experience there is that they are objective – indeed skeptical — in the best Baconian sense and they welcome informed inquiry and challenges. But the key word is informed, and the key perspective is objective and unbiased.

  8. Joe says:


    The RealClimate archives are a great resource that probably answer 90% of your questions. The climate scientists — many of them are world-class — don’t typically answer questions that have already been answered many times on the website.


  9. IANVS says:

    But what if honest Ron just wants to regurgitate fishy-smelling pseudo-science & dddenier talking points that have been debunked & disproven time & again by the climate science community?

  10. Joe says:

    Ron — you got a reply at RealClimate!

    [[Who is correct here? And where can I find some sort of ‘proof’ that the ‘CO2 causes global warming’ hypothesis is right?]]

    Try the IPCC AR4 report. Here’s a link:

    If you want to understand the mechanism involved, find a good book on atmosphere physics, like John Houghton’s “The Physics of Atmospheres” (3rd ed. 2002), or Grant W. Petty’s “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation” (2006). Or try my climatology pages:

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 October 2007 @ 6:43 AM

  11. Jay Alt says:

    Ron –
    An article by the WSJ’s science reporter.

    Scientists Explain How They Attribute Climate-Change Data

    Quick Study, the physics of climate models

    A model approach to climate change