Monday, June 25, 2007

LIKE WE' ve Been Saying - Bush's Mafia Whacks the Republic

Above The Law - Above The People
BushCo Mafia N COMPANY do NOT forget that STAND ALONE MAFIA that
Jolly Ollie talks about during IRAN / Bush Mafia / Contra

The SECRET GOVERNMENT

WAKE UP

Bush claims oversight exemption too The SECRET GOVERNMENT

The White House says the president's own order on classified data
does not apply to his office or the vice president's.

By Josh Meyer, LA Times Staff Writer
June 23, 2007

Overseeing the overseers?
click to enlarge
WASHINGTON — The White House said Friday that, like Vice President
Dick Cheney's office, President Bush's office is not allowing an
independent federal watchdog to oversee its handling of classified
national security information.

An executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 — amending an
existing order — requires all government agencies that are part of
the executive branch to submit to oversight. Although it doesn't
specifically say so, Bush's order was not meant to apply to the vice
president's office or the president's office, a White House spokesman
said.

The issue flared Thursday when Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles)
criticized Cheney for refusing to file annual reports with the
federal National Archives and Records Administration, for refusing to
spell out how his office handles classified documents, and for
refusing to submit to an inspection by the archives' Information
Security Oversight Office.

The SECRET GOVERNMENT

The archives administration has been pressing the vice president's
office to cooperate with oversight for the last several years,
contending that by not doing so, Cheney and his staff have created a
potential national security risk.

Bush amended the oversight directive in response to the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks to help ensure that national secrets would not be
mishandled, made public or improperly declassified.

The SECRET GOVERNMENT

The order aimed to create a uniform system for classifying,
declassifying and otherwise safeguarding national security
information. It gave the archives' oversight unit responsibility for
evaluating the effectiveness of each agency's classification
programs. It applied to the executive branch of government, mostly
agencies led by Bush administration appointees — not to legislative
offices such as Congress or to judicial offices such as the courts.

"Our democratic principles require that the American people be
informed of the activities of their government," the executive order
said.

But from the start, Bush considered his office and Cheney's exempt
from the reporting requirements, White House spokesman Tony Fratto
said in an interview Friday.

Cheney's office filed the reports in 2001 and 2002 but stopped in
2003.

As a result, the National Archives has been unable to review how much
information the president's and vice president's offices are
classifying and declassifying. And the security oversight office
cannot inspect the president and vice president's executive offices
to determine whether safeguards are in place to protect the
classified information they handle and to properly declassify
information when required.

Those two offices have access to the most highly classified
information, including intelligence on terrorists and unfriendly
foreign countries.

Waxman and J. William Leonard, director of the Information Security
Oversight Office, have argued that the order clearly applies to all
executive branch agencies, including the offices of the vice
president and the president.

The White House disagrees, Fratto said.

"We don't dispute that the ISOO has a different opinion. But let's be
very clear: This executive order was issued by the president, and he
knows what his intentions were," Fratto said. "He is in compliance
with his executive order."

Fratto conceded that the lengthy directive, technically an amendment
to an existing executive order, did not specifically exempt the
president's or vice president's offices. Instead, it refers
to "agencies" as being subject to the requirements, which Fratto said
did not include the two executive offices. "It does take a little bit
of inference," Fratto said.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists'
government secrecy project, disputed the White House explanation of
the executive order.

He noted that the order defines "agency" as any executive agency,
military department and "any other entity within the executive branch
that comes into the possession of classified information" — which, he
said, includes Bush's and Cheney's offices.

Cheney's office drew criticism Thursday for claiming that it was
exempt from the reporting requirements because the vice president's
office is not fully within the executive branch. It cited his
legislative role as president of the Senate when needed to break a
tie.

At a Friday news conference, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said
constitutional scholars could debate that assertion.

But, she said, Cheney's office is exempt from the requirements
because the president intended him to be.

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