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When The White House Has Something To Hide…

By Faiz Shakir  

"When The White House Has Something To Hide…"

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Yesterday, White House adviser to the Supreme Court nomination process, former Sen. Fred Thompson, said the White House is likely to refuse requests from the Senate Judiciary Committee to review memoranda that Roberts drafted while he worked in the Reagan and Bush I administrations.

The White House can’t blame critics who think they’re hiding something. The Bush administration chose to hide the following information:

- The PDB from the 9/11 Commission
- Documents related to the leak investigation
- Cheney’s influence in Halliburton deal
- Cheney’s Energy Task Force deliberations
- The true cost of the Medicare bill
- John Bolton’s secret intercepts
- Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse report

Historical experience dictates the lesson to be learned is that when the White House has something they refuse to disclose, there’s bad news to be found:

Presidential Daily Brief

What They Hid:

There was a “contentious battle between the September 11 panel and the White House over access to the President’s Daily Briefs or PDBs–the intelligence briefing report that is given to the president every morning.”

What We Learned:

Bush received PDB prior to 9-11 entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in US

Leak Investigation

What They Hid:

When the Justice Department announced it was launching an investigation into who leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent, the White House refused to do so in a timely manner. Senators Tom Daschle, Chuck Schumer, Carl Levin, and Joseph Biden wrote to White House, saying: “When the Justice Department finally asked the White House to order employees to preserve documents, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales asked for permission to delay transmitting the order to preserve evidence until morning. The request for a delay was granted. Again, every former prosecutor with whom we have spoken has said that such a delay is a significant departure from standard practice.”

What We Learned:

On the disclosure of Valerie Plame, Karl Rove was the primary source for Matt Cooper and a second source for Bob Novak. Cheney chief of staff Lewis Libby served as a source for Matt Cooper.

Halliburton

What They Hid:

The Bush administration refused to release information on contacts between Vice President Cheney’s office and the Department of Defense regarding the award to Halliburton of a sole-source contract worth up to $7 billion.

What We Learned:

In March 2003, the Pentagon awarded a subsidiary of Halliburton a no-bid contract worth $7 billion to help rebuild Iraqi oil fields. According to Time magazine, an internal Pentagon e-mail said “action” on the contract was “coordinated” with the Vice President’s office.

Cheney Energy Task Force

What They Hid:

The White House rejected demands “to turn over documents sought by Congress in an inquiry into how the Bush administration’s energy policy was formed.”

What We Learned:

According to the Washington Post, “A first review of the 11,000 pages of documents bolsters the contention of Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups that the Bush administration relied almost exclusively on the advice of executives from utilities and producers of oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy….” Enron met with Vice President Cheney six times to discuss energy policy.

Medicare Prescription Drug Bill

What They Hid:

The Bush administration refused to reveal the true cost of the Medicare prescription bill.

What We Learned:

Within weeks of the bill’s final passage, Bush released a revised cost estimate $600 billion higher than what had been previously been announced and promised as the cost ceiling.

John Bolton

What They Hid:

The White House refuses to hand over records of communications intercepts Bolton sought from the secretive National Security Agency.

What We Learned:

One of the 10 intercept requests made by John Bolton was about Libya. The identity of the U.S. official requested by Bolton was William Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

Abu Ghraib Prisoner Abuse

What They Hid:

The Pentagon “banned any discussion” of the classified report on Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse written by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba.

What We Learned:

Pentagon memo laid the foundations for torture to occur, saying “The president, despite domestic and international laws constraining the use of torture, has the authority as commander in chief to approve almost any physical or psychological actions during interrogation, up to and including torture.”

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