Perhaps the media should pay her for the information since she only speaks for money these days. Any other time she has sudden memory loss. To be fair she’s not the only person from this most transparent administration ever to stonewall Freedom of Information requests.
In her four years as the top U.S. diplomat, Hillary Clinton kept a running total of countries visited, miles traveled and hours spent in transit on the State Department website.
Still untallied: The bill to taxpayers for her globe-trotting.
Bloomberg News last year asked for the details of out-of-town trips for the heads of 57 major departments in fiscal 2011, a test of President Barack Obama’s pledge to run the most open government in history. As of July 12, about one-fifth of those surveyed hadn’t responded.
The State Department is one of five Cabinet offices that have yet to fully comply with requests under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose the details and expenses of official travel more than a year after they were filed.
“These are exactly the kinds of records Cabinet offices should have at their fingertips,” said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a Washington-based open-information advocacy group. “You should not even have to ask for these records. They should be online already.”
The Justice Department, which is responsible for monitoring compliance with the open-government law, took more than one year to comply even though Attorney General Eric Holder has called swift responses to public records petitions an “essential component” of government transparency. Following repeated queries, the agency provided travel vouchers and then the costs of the trips last week.
Open-government requests that involve numerous records and the personal details of top officials may lead to processing delays, said Melanie Ann Pustay, the director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy.
“While the length of time necessary to process these requests can vary depending on whether sensitive, national security or privacy information is involved, they are handled as promptly as possible,” Pustay said in an e-mail.
The remaining holdouts among Obama’s Cabinet include former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
But don’t worry, the State Department will divulge Clinton’s cost by September or something.
On a “Travels with the Secretary” State Department website page, visitors could track the record-setting pace Clinton kept in office.
She visited 112 countries, traveled 956,733 miles and spent 2,084 hours — or more than 86 days — in flight, according to the department.
In the year ended Sept. 30, 2011, the time period subject to the FOIA filing, Clinton visited 46 countries, including Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Mexico and Haiti in January of that year.
Clinton’s successor John Kerry has maintained the tradition, logging 27 countries and 134,691 miles thus far in his tenure.
The State Department said the request for Clinton’s details may be completed next month. Estimated completion dates are “‘strictly’ estimates and not intended to be used as ‘actual’ dates of completions,” Chris Barnes, a State Department FOIA official, said in an e-mail. Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the Office of Hillary Clinton, referred a question about the records to the State Department.
The Pentagon has estimated that it will be able to deliver documents on Panetta’s and Gates’s travels by Sept. 6.
How forthcoming of them.