The official appointed by the Obama Administration to promote transparency at the Department of Homeland Security has long warned that the agency violates public records laws when data is considered “politically sensitive” by her bosses.
The damaging information has come to light thanks to a news outlet’s relentless effort to expose a scandal involving how the administration blocks the release of public records at the agency. A separate story last week revealed that a senior career employee suffered retaliation for blowing the whistle on political appointees who illegally interfered with public records requests at the Department of Homeland Security. The official (Catherine Papoi) worked as a deputy unit chief in charge of handling public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Papoi told the Homeland Security Inspector General that hundreds of public records requests had been illegally sidetracked to Obama advisers because the documents were considered politically sensitive. The administration officials delayed release and demanded information about the watchdog groups, journalists and others requesting the materials. If a member of congress requested documents, Homeland Security employees were ordered to specify if it was a Republican or Democrat who put in the order. Papoi, a veteran Homeland Security lawyer, got demoted for denouncing the wrongdoing.