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The Obama Administration: First 9 Days

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January 21st: President Obama ordered a pay freeze for all of his senior staff earning over $100,000 a year.


President Obama, also, signed an Executive Order On Ethics. He told the assembled staff:  

"If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in the agencies you lobbied the previous two years. When you leave government, you will not be able to lobby my administration for as long as I am President. And there will be a ban on gifts by lobbyists to anyone serving in the administration.as well."


Obama admitted "...new rules on lobbying alone, no matter how tough, are not enough to fix a broken system in Washington. That's why I am also setting new rules that govern not just lobbyists, but all those who have been selected to serve in my administration. If you are enlisting in government service, you will have to commit, in writing, to rules limiting your role for two years in matters involving people you used to work with and barring you from any attempt to influence your former government colleagues for two years after you leave.  And you will receive an ethics briefing on what is required of you to make sure that our government is serving the people's interests and nobody else's."


President Obama, also, signed his Directive On Freedom Of Information Act , announcing that no longer will information be withheld simply because it can be, but requests will be favored unless for reasonable security interests. He also declared that his own decisions to withhold FOIA requested information will be subjected to the outside opinion of well-grounded authority.


January 22nd: President Obama ordered Defense Secretary Gates to order a 120-day suspension of all military commission cases at Gitmo. He, also, ordered Guantanamo closed within one year.


President Obama made four phone calls to 4 leaders in the Middle East (Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority) to talk about the next steps for peace in their regions.


President Obama, also, met with top military leaders (Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff admiral Mike Mullen, Secretary Defense Bob Gates, US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, General David Petraeus and General Ray Odierno) to give them a new mission to end the war in Iraq in 16 months.


January 23rd: President Obama signed an Executive Order To Close Guantanamo Dentention Facilities within one year. Obama, also, ordered the CIA to close its network of secret prisons on foreign soil.


Richard Holbrooke was appointed special envoy to Pakistan and Afganistan.


George Mitchell was appointed special Envoy to the Middle East.


President Obama, also, ordered all U.S. personnel to go by the Army Field Manual when interrogating prisoners, though also ordering a task force to evaluation of the Army Field Manual for the effectiveness of those AFM techniques.


David Kris was appointed to pilot the National Security Division of the United States Justice Department.


President Obama issued William Lynn, Deputy Defense Secretary and former Raytheon Lobbyist, a waver to the Presidential Directive On Ethics.


In addition to the daily National Security Briefing, President Obama requested a daily economic briefing.

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Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.
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