Secrecy in Obama Administration Extends to Emails


“Marissa Hopkins Secreto”

— Name of the Treasury Department spokeswoman who declined to comment to the Associated Press about secret email accounts used by agency officials.

The federal government wants to know what’s in James Rosen’s email, but doesn’t want James Rosen to know what’s in its officials’ inboxes.


Whatever “chilling effect” resulted from the Justice Department’s snatching of Rosen’s emails and phone records and the agency’s grab of “thousands and thousands” of phone logs from the Associated Press doesn’t seem to have much cooled the pursuit of federal secrets.

The AP today lowered the boom on the widespread use of secret email accounts by federal officials. There are not secure inboxes for national security officials, but unlisted addresses for civilian officials — shadow accounts created so that official inboxes can fill up with spam and unread citizen complaints while officials go about their business.

Since addresses are unknown, their contents are unknowable by reporters. One cannot file a Freedom of Information Act request for what one does not know exists.

Neither is this about the use of private, personal email accounts to conduct official business. That’s a big problem, but harder for reporters to get to. Getting a judge to compel an agency to provide the contents of government workers’

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