Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chairman Waxman Has Sent Another Letter

Chairman Henry Waxman of the Committee on Government and Oversight Reform has sent another letter to the Administration. According to Chairman Waxman

* White House security officials have been blocked from inspecting West Wing offices for compliance with procedures for handling classified information. The White House has its own security office that functions independently of the Information Security Oversight Office in the National Archives. According to several security officials who have worked in this White House office, the Bush White House blocked the White House security officers from conducting unannounced inspections of the West Wing. This is a departure from the practices of the prior administration, which allowed these inspections.

* The White House regularly ignored security breaches. The security officers described repeated instances in which security breaches were reported to the White House Security Office by Secret Service or CIA agents, but were never investigated. In one case, the White House Security Office took no action after receiving a report that a White House official left classified materials unattended in a hotel room. In numerous instances, reports that White House officials left classified information on their desks went uninvestigated.

* The President’s top political advisor received a renewal of his security clearance despite presidential directives calling for the denial of security clearances for officials who misrepresent their involvement in security leaks. Under guidelines issued by President Bush, security clearances should not be renewed for individuals who deny their role in the release of classified information, regardless of whether the disclosure was intentional or negligent. Contrary to this guidance, the White House Security Office renewed the security clearance for Karl Rove in late 2006.

* The White House has condoned widespread mismanagement at the White House Security Office. According to the White House security officers, the White House allowed the White House Security Office to be run by managers who ignored basic security procedures and allowed other White House officials to do so also.
The letter was sent to White House Counsel Fred Fielding. You have to admit Henry Waxman is nothing if not persistent.

Of course, you can't expect anybody in the White House to be concerned with anything so pedestrian as security for top secret documents. They are just too important for such trivialities.