Biden’s team appears to be modeling itself on Obama’s administration, which was the least transparent since Richard Nixon. Obama prosecuted more people under the 1917 Espionage law for leaking sensitive information to the public than all previous administrations combined.
As the Biden team moves forward with their transition into the White House, despite votes still being tallied and Trump campaign lawsuits pending in a number of swing states, reporters have already started noticing a lack of transparency.
This kind of behavior is very similar to how President Obama handled the press. There should be no surprise about the lack of transparency. In fact, the press should be nervous about what’s to come despite the Biden team claiming open briefings are coming. A reminder from the Associated Press:
Former President Barack Obama’s recent denunciation of President Donald Trump’s treatment of the press overlooks the aggressive steps the Justice Department took to keep information from the public during his administration. Obama also made a problematic claim that Republican “sabotage” has cost 3 million people their health insurance.
Trump may use extraordinary rhetoric to undermine trust in the press, but Obama arguably went farther — using extraordinary actions to block the flow of information to the public.
The Obama administration used the 1917 Espionage Act with unprecedented vigor, prosecuting more people under that law for leaking sensitive information to the public than all previous administrations combined. Obama’s Justice Department dug into confidential communications between news organizations and their sources as part of that effort.
In 2013 the Obama administration obtained the records of 20 Associated Press office phone lines and reporters’ home and cell phones, seizing them without notice, as part of an investigation into the disclosure of information about a foiled al-Qaida terrorist plot.