Democrat Waxman threatens subpoenas, suggests White House lied about Cheney security inquiries
A top House Democrat contradicted Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino's claim that the White House follows its own security safeguards adequately. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) also threatened to issue subpoenas on Thursday if the White House did not comply with House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requests for voluntary interviews with officials involved in White House security decision-making.
"Contrary to the recent claims of White House spokesperson Dana Perino, there is evidence that the White House has repeatedly failed to investigate security violations, take corrective action following breaches, and appropriately protect classified information," said Rep. Waxman, in a statement released Tuesday morning.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was responding to Perino's recent remark that, "The president and the vice president are complying with all the rules and regulations regarding the handling of classified material and making sure that it is safeguarded and protected."
Waxman expanded on his statement in a letter to President George W. Bush's Counsel, Fred Fielding.
"There is evidence that both the White House and the Office of the Vice President have flaunted multiple requirements for protecting classified information, not just the section related to the responsibilities of the
Information Security Oversight Office," the California Democrat wrote. "According to current and former White House security personnel who have contacted my staff, White House practices have been dangerously
inadequate with respect to investigating security violations, taking corrective action following breaches, and physically securing classified information."
Waxman took special note of the President's inconsistency in claiming that he had followed security procedures, while at the same time renewing a security clearance for his top adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.
"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," the Oversight Committee chairman noted. "Contrary to this guidance, the White House Security Office renewed the security clearance for Karl Rove in late 2006."
The congressman went on to renew his request for interviews with three current and former White House officials: Andrew Card, former chief of staff; Alan Swendiman, the Director of the Office of Administration; Mark Frownfelter, a former White House security officer; and Jeff Thompson, the former Director of the White House Security Office.
If Fielding was unwilling to comply with these requests, he added, "I will recommend to the Committee the issuance of subpoenas at our next business meeting, which is currently scheduled for June 28."
Waxman's full letter and statement can be read at this link.