Sunday, December 17, 2006

U.S. lawmakers press for info on 5-year-old anthrax scare

A cadre of U.S. lawmakers fired off a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pleading for new information on the five-years-and-running investigation into the 2001 anthrax scare that shocked South Dakota when then-Sen. Tom Daschle's office was caught up in the attacks.The bipartisan letter, signed by 33 members of Congress this week, extends an effort by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., to persuade the FBI to release an update on the case."In one of the most important terrorism investigations ever undertaken by the FBI, it is unbelievable to me that members of Congress, some who were targets of the anthrax attacks, haven't been briefed for years," Grassley said.
The FBI, citing concern about information in the unsolved case being leaked to the public, has refused lawmakers' requests.Grassley and the other lawmakers said in the letter that leaked information is a valid concern, but they maintained it does not justify keeping lawmakers in the dark. They said they need the information to perform their required oversight of the FBI's performance.
Congress "cannot be cut-off from detailed information about the conduct of one of the largest investigations in FBI history," the lawmakers wrote to Gonzales. "That information is vital in order to fulfill its Constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch."
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