The International Business Times requested copies last year of all correspondence between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial trade agreement that she once wholeheartedly supported but has since, for political reasons, disowned.
As the Times describes it, the request "was designed to provide a comprehensive view of how involved Clinton and her top aides were in shaping the trade agreement, and whether her agency had a hand in crafting any particular provisions."
Presisent Obama's officials originally promised to produce these documents by April this year. But not very surprisingly, it has suddenly decided to keep them under wraps until late November, 489 days after the newspaper's request and a couple of weeks after the general election.
The State Department does not obey open-records laws in a timely fashion. It has repeatedly earned the ire of federal judges by fighting to leave the curtain of obscurity closed for as long as possible.
The electoral coincidence of a November release date is manifestly unacceptable. It is calculatedly convenient for Clinton, a candidate whose public life is a 30-year litany of deceit and subterfuge. Even as she fibs about her email scandal, she continues to enjoy the benefit of illegally withholding work correspondence from her employers, America's voters. Some of those emails, which belong to the public, have been held under the cover of darkness for five years.
There is doubtless something, or many things, that are really putrid under the rock. And, unpleasant viewing though they would be, voters have a right to see them before they choose which candidate to elect president.
Specifically, they need the chance to read Clinton's specific thoughts on international trade years before she launched her bid for the White House. Where she stood is already known in broad terms; she was strongly in favor of free trade and of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in particular. She described that agreement in her book as a crowning achievement of her tenure as secretary of state.
It would therefore be enlightening to know how responsible she was for the details of the agreement. Her discussions of specific goals would make good reading. Perhaps she wrote of the need to increase exports, or discussed strengthening American businesses in the Pacific to meet the challenge of China.
These exchanges would be a salutory reminder that Clinton is as hypocritical a politician as it is possible to find, who believes in nothing save her own advancement.
President Obama promised unprecedented transparency as he entered the White House. He has not lived up to that promise and he is about to propose as his successor a woman whose record on this subject, as on several others, is as bad as possible.