Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bush Administration, In Flip-Flop, Not Helping Katrina Investigation

MSNBC's David Shuster is reporting that the White House -- in a "flip-flop" from statements made last year -- is not releasing Hurricane Katrina-related documents or making senior officials available for a Congressional investigation.

We've been down this road before.

Substitute "9/11 Commission" or "Discussions On Warrantless Surveillance" or "Pre-War Intelligence" for "Katrina Investigation," and you get some insight into how the Bush Administration regards sharing information.

It doesn't.

Why? Perhaps the administration doesn't want to create the opportunity for dissenting opinion. Perhaps because the less people really know, the larger the vacuum for administration spin. How else can one explain a history of fighting against the truth?


Initially, the administration was against forming the 9/11 Commission. Later, it took the unusual step of having President Bush and Vice President Cheney meet informally -- not under oath -- with the commission.

Shuster reports that the administration wants similar informal meetings with White House advisors now, rather than formal -- under oath -- testimony before Congress.


The administration claimed that it met with senior members of Congress before proceeding with its warrantless surveillance program. But various senators have said that they were either misinformed at the time about what the administration wanted to do, or not given a chance to express disapproval with the plan.

Although Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested that Congress would consider legislation to allow for warrantless surveillance, Bush has said he isn't interested in releasing details of the program, to allow for Congressional consideration. (Note: The Justice Department considered including a provision to cover warrantless surveillance in 2003 legislation, but later nixed those plans.)


The administration has repeatedly said it had access to the same pre-war intelligence as Congress. But the non-partisan Congressional Research Service disputed that, saying in a Dec. 15 report that the White House has access to a much broader ranger of intelligence reports than Congress.

The CRS report identified nine key U.S. intelligence "products" that aren't generally shared with Congress. These include the President's Daily Brief, a compilation of analyses that's given only to the president and a handful of top aides, and a daily digest on terrorism-related matters.


And now we have White House resistance on investigating Hurricane Katrina. It's a far cry from what Bush said in September:

BUSH: "I want to know what went right and what went wrong. I want to know how to better cooperate with state and local government, to be able to answer that very question that you asked: Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack or another severe storm? It's in our national interest that we find out exactly what went on … so that we can better respond.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), overseeing the Congressional investigation, alleged last week that the Bush administration‘s refusal to cooperate has killed the Katrina investigation. "There has been a near-total lack of cooperation that has made it impossible, in my opinion, for us to do the thorough investigation we have a responsibility to do."


Certainly there are limits on what information the White House should share. And there is room for debate as to what should remain classified.

But Katrina was made worse by government failures in action and communication, as President Bush admitted. That's why people compare Katrina with the failures by the Clinton and Bush administrations that led to 9/11.

We as a nation can only learn from our mistakes -- and thus be better prepared to deal with disasters -- if we know what those mistakes are, and how to correct them. It's a lesson any school child would understand. Why not the Bush White House?


Blogger thewaronterrible said...

The bipartisan Congressional Research Service is a very lonely agency indeed.
While the main stream media gives plenty of attention -- and credibility -- to lying spin of Bush and his apologists, we barely hear of the contrary but objective findings of the CRS that (a) the Authorization for Military Force does not replace the need of FISA to produce a warrant when conducting electonic surveillance and, as JABBS points out (b) the Bush Administration had access to a much broader range of international intelligence than did congress.
Why does the media give more credibility to Bush spin than nonpartisan objective facts of the CRS? Is it any wonder Bush is allowed to break the law?

In addition, no one in the general media is raising an uproar over the Bush stonewalling in the Katrina investigation, even as the action conflicts with his earlier insistances to "to get to the bottom of" what caused the poor government response to the hurricane.
We recall Bush similarilly backing off on his insistences to get to the bottom of the Plame leak, as well.
Speaking of the hurricane, new evidences also expose the falsehood (or utter incompetence) of the Bush statement immediately after Katrina, "no one anticipated the breech of the levees."
You don't hear anyone making a lot of noise about this either.
Once again, Bush will continue to mislead and lie to the American public, just as long as the media continues to fail to hold him accountable for earlier statement when the latest facts and behaviors call them into question, He will also continue to get away with it just as long as the media continues to give him significantly more credibility and airtime than his more honest critics.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous The Bastard said...

THe most secretive administration ever!!! Makes you wonder what they have to hide? Isn't the government ours? Yours and mine? Why can't my representatives see shit? I voted for them, they represent me so why are they not being allowed to be my eyes and ears?

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Gen Patton said...

An entire city, one of the greatest the U.S. has ever seen, is wiped off the map and Bush doesn't even mention it in the State of the Union? What's up with that? What ever happens to New Orleans, it's destruction and the aftermath will go a long way in defining Bush's legacy. What a God Damn Joke!!!

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to see MSNBC at least calling an obvious Bush lie.
Why can't other media follow suit?
I wonder...
Two boys came to my door at different times this evening, one trying to sell me a subscription to the New York Daily News, and the another a subscription to the New York Post.
I turned both of them down saying I would never subscribe to either paper because both had vigorously endorsed George W. Bush over John Kerry in the last election.
I wonder whether such media sources might now recognize how they had made a huge mistake.
Might the treatment of Bush with kid gloves be explained through outright shame?

5:24 PM  
Anonymous the postman always shoots twice said...

The only thing the government learns to do better from the past is to duck responsibility, hide their mistakes, and blame others. This is the worst excuse for a "president" that this country has ever had, bar none. He's done more damage, taken away more rights, squashed more people down the economic scale, caused more divisiveness, told more outright lies, and not only embarrassed but also ruined the U.S. reputation in the world as any kind of leader through his botched foreign policy (especially on moral grounds).

9:52 PM  
Anonymous icoman said...

OK, let’s use the Patriot Act. Let’s go in and search all of Bush’s records, confiscate any documents we determine adversly affects Americans and put these people far away in an undisclosed prison without access to an attorney and without due process. Oh, and we won’t bother to get a search warrant.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Ditto said...

Typical. Don’t you limp-wristed liberals know that if this information were to be brought to light - suddenly the whole world would be aware of the federal government’s ability to respond to another terrorist attack. And once they spot a weakness - they’ll know how to maximize the effectiveness of their terror. You all are emboldening the enemy!

Actually our King W is no-doubt one step ahead of the game. He deliberately blew the federal response in an well-planned effort to create the illusion of America’s weakness and vulnerability. He’s laying a trap for the terrorists! We’re so lucky to have such a smart, forward-looking leader.

This entry brought to you by Tongue-In-Cheek Mouthwash!

11:34 PM  

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