House oversight chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has revealed new evidence “that both the White House and the Office of the Vice President have flaunted multiple requirements for protecting classified information,” beyond the violation of the executive order reported earlier this week.
Last Friday, White House spokesperson Dana Perino stated that the “president and the vice president are complying with all the rules and regulations regarding the handling of classified material.” This is false. As Waxman makes clear in today’s letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, the Bush administration has repeatedly broken its own guidelines for securing classified information:
White House security officers blocked from inspecting the West Wing. The National Archives is not the only agency ensuring that White House officials comply with the requirements for protecting classified information. The White House Security Office (WHSO) also shares this responsibility. Waxman reports today that WHSO employees “have been blocked from conducting inspections in the West Wing of the White House, where most of the President’s most senior advisors work.”
Karl Rove has had his security clearance renewed. Karl Rove has admitted that he publicly disclosed Valerie Plame’s status as a CIA officer. Under guidelines issued by President Bush in 2005, the “deliberate or negligent disclosure” of classified information can be a “disqualifying” condition to receive security clearance. Yet Waxman reports that Rove has had his security clearance renewed “and not altered in any respect.”
White House ignored security breaches, condoned mismanagement. Management at White House Security Office has been unwilling to “take actions that could embarrass White House officials,” a practice “condoned” by the White House, Waxman writes. For example, the office repeatedly ignored security breaches that were reported by the Secret Service or CIA agents, such as when a “White House official left classified materials unattended in a hotel room.” As a result, there was “plummeting morale among White House security officers,” half of whom quit last year.
Since April, Waxman has tried unsuccessfully to arrange interviews with White House officials overseeing security matters. Unless those interviews are granted, Waxman says, he will bring a motion to subpoena the officials on June 28.