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Obama: Keep failed Bush pardon seekers secret

The White House wants the names of prisoners who unsuccessfully sought a pardon from President Bush to be kept under wraps.

In a brief filed in Washington federal appellate court Friday, the administration urged the court to deny an attempt by a Washington Post reporter to obtain the names of those denied clemency by Bush.

The move, Politico reports, is likely designed to prevent the names of those seeking clemency from Obama from being disclosed as well. So far, Obama has not granted any requests for pardons or clemency.

“Pardon and commutation applicants have a substantial privacy interest in nondisclosure of the fact that they have unsuccessfully sought clemency,” the Justice Department’s brief reads. “The substantial privacy interest of the clemency applicants outweighs the negligible public interest in disclosure of their names.”

Making the applicants’ names public would, the brief argued, could delay their rehabilitation and even put them at risk.

“Disclosure of the fact that individual offenders have unsuccessfully sought pardons or commutations unquestionably will re-stigmatize the applicants and draw renewed attention to their offenses, thereby harming their prospects for successful rehabilitation and reintegration into the community, as well as possibly subjecting them to the risk of retaliation,” the brief said.

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