Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bush to Congress: drop dead

Speaking of bipartisanship, or lack thereof, the Justice Department has refused a Congressional request for documents detailing CIA interrogation procedures.

The administration notified Leahy on Dec. 22 that it would not release a presidential directive signed by Bush authorizing the CIA to set up secret prisons overseas for suspected terrorists or a 2002 Justice Department legal memorandum outlining "aggressive interrogation techniques."

Justice's reasoning is a bit specious:

In its Dec. 22 letter to Leahy, the Justice Department said the information he sought was classified and included confidential legal opinions that were privileged.

The department also said disclosing sensitive operational information, such as interrogation techniques, would help the enemy.

Classified informtion isn't an obstacle; the Congressmen involved usually have security clearances. And disclosing to Congress is aiding the enemy? I suppose it depends upon how you define "enemy."

Congress has a right to know how the president is carrying out the laws Congress has passed -- or whether he's violating them. Expect a subpoena from Leahy if this doesn't get resolved soon. And rightly so.

This is less a squabble between parties than a squabble between branches, but it doesn't bode well for the working relationship between Congress and the president if the administration remains unwilling to expose itself to such scrutiny.

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