Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stop or I'll yell stop again

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP)--A House committee chairman led the craven hand-wringing Wednesday over the Bush Crime Family's claim that a White House office involved in the illegal purge of millions of e-mails can keep records from the public.

The Justice Department™, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bushco, introduced this stunning new line of shit in response to a lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which seeks to force the White House Office of Administration to say what it knows about the disappearance of an undisclosed number of messages.

The White House has provided few details about the e-mail problem, and they were all lies. It came to light more than a year and a half ago and resurfaced amid the uproar over the replacement of competent U.S. attorneys with dull-eyed Bush Family goons, which so far has resulted in investigations that go nowhere, hearings where no one says "liar," and subpoenas no one enforces.

For Representative Henry Waxman, the fight is just one of many his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee intends to lose to the Bush Family over access to documents. Democrats took control of Congress in January, but you'd never know it.

"The White House obsession with secrecy is absurd," said Waxman (D-CA). "The White House is inventing new legalisms to thwart oversight and public accountability. If only there were some kind of constitutional remedy for dealing with high crimes and misdemeanors in the executive branch."

In response, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said, "Why is the Oversight and Government Reform Committee so obsessed with oversight and government reform?"

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the White House office in question has processed hundreds of information requests on behalf of the media, advocacy groups and the public over the past decade. The White House Web site lists the office among the "entities subject to" the law.

But on Tuesday, in a bid to kill the suit by CREW, the Justice Department™ contended the office has no substantial authority independent of President Bush and is not subject to the law, which is pretty much what they say about everything.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said the Family's position is in keeping with its well-known disdain for democracy and the rule of law.

"When they don't want to comply with the law, they just shamelessly argue they are not subject to the law," she said.

In its filing in U.S. District Court, the Justice Department™ admitted that the White House office is required by law to comply with FOIA and has never previously refused, but things are different now, so fuck off.

The department cited an irrelevant court ruling in the 1990s that the National Security Council was not subject to the disclosure law.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said the administration's position was "akin to the vice president's declaration that he is not a part of the executive branch. You know--bullshit."

Vice President Dick Cheney has said his office is exempt from sections of a presidential order that executive branch offices provide data on how much material they classify and declassify because his executive branch office is not part of the executive branch and besides, executive privelege.

With backing from the White House, Cheney's office argued that the offices of the president and vice president were exempt from the order because that's not really who they are.

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