American Samizdat

Friday, July 20, 2007. *
DeFazio asks, but he's denied access
Classified info - The congressman wanted to see government plans for after a terror attack Friday, July 20, 2007JEFF KOSSEFF The Oregonian Staff
WASHINGTON -- Oregonians called Peter DeFazio's office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.

As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.

On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.

"I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack," DeFazio says.

Homeland Security Committee staffers told his office that the White House initially approved his request, but it was later quashed. DeFazio doesn't know who did it or why.

"We're talking about the continuity of the government of the United States of America," DeFazio says. "I would think that would be relevant to any member of Congress, let alone a member of the Homeland Security Committee."

Bush administration spokesman Trey Bohn declined to say why DeFazio was denied access: "We do not comment through the press on the process that this access entails. It is important to keep in mind that much of the information related to the continuity of government is highly sensitive."

Norm Ornstein, a legal scholar who studies government continuity at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said he "cannot think of one good reason" to deny access to a member of Congress who serves on the Homeland Security Committee.

"I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House," Ornstein said.

This is the first time DeFazio has been denied access to documents. DeFazio has asked Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to help him access the documents.

"Maybe the people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right," DeFazio said.

Also: A top legal scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute says he "cannot think of one good reason" to deny access to classified material for a member of Congress who serves on the Homeland Security Committee.


Gen. Tommy Franks said in an interview with the lifestyle magazine Cigar Aficionado that if another terrorist attack occurs in the United States "the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government" The stunning revelation is the headline story on the right-wing news site NewsMax for Friday. Franks said that another terrorism attack will result in "... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years..." He indicated that if another terrorism attack occurs Bush will likely declare martial law and the Constitution will apparently be "discarded".
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:40 PM
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