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Obama Backtracking on Transparency Promise?

Despite the Obama administration's push for more openness in the federal government, a report says the White House has agreed to extend a deadline for intelligence agencies to review millions of documents that were scheduled to be declassified this year.

President Barack Obama listens during a meeting with aides on Air Force One en route to Beijing on Nov. 16, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)We've been tracking the Obama administration's promise of transparency. A story in Sunday's Boston Globe shows that promise may be clouding up a bit. The Globe reports that Obama may halt the release of millions of intelligence documents scheduled to be declassified by the end of the year:

The documents in question -- all more than 25 years old -- were scheduled to be declassified on Dec. 31 under an order originally signed by President Bill Clinton and amended by President George W. Bush.

Administration officials blame resistance from intelligence agencies, which have failed to meet deadlines to review documents for declassification. Reports the Globe:

In the face of these complications, the White House has given the agencies a commitment that they will get an extension beyond Dec. 31 of an undetermined length -- possibly years, said the administration officials, who spoke on the condition they not be identified discussing internal deliberations.

That apparent commitment would run counter to the Obama administration's push for more openness in the federal government, including the declassification process. In May, the Globe points out, Obama "ordered a 90-day review by the National Security Council" of the classification process.

We'll be following this issue and will report further developments.

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