White House Cites ‘Executive Privilege’ To Block Inquiry On ‘Eviscerated’ Global Warming Testimony

Last month, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials revealed that the White House “eviscerated” the congressional testimony of CDC President Julie Gerberding on the “Human Impacts of Global Warming.” The deletions included “details on how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming” and the scientific basis of specific diseases impacted by climate change.

Last week, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) wrote to President Bush “requesting a full accounting of what occurred during that review process.” Appearing on MSNBC today, Boxer said the administration has stonewalled her efforts, claiming executive privilege:

Many pages of it were redacted… And by the way, we wrote the President. He gave our letter to Fred Fielding, the chief counsel over there, his counsel, who said ‘executive privilege, I don’t have to tell you what she wrote.’ … So yes, I think they are hiding this. I think they are hiding a lot of things. It’s their way, it’s their habit, it’s wrong.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/11/boxercdc3.320.240.flv]

Fielding claimed that “the request by its very nature seeks communications involving pre-decisional deliberative materials relating to an inter-agency review process…it is clear that the request implicates core Executive Branch interests and raises separation of powers concerns.”

Fielding added that he may continue to “withhold documents” in the future and redirected Boxer to Vice President Cheney’s office in regards to Boxer’s “request for vice president records.”

A January report found 435 instances in which the administration interfered with the work of government climate change scientists over the past five years. Despite the administration’s refusal to explain what it is hiding, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino maintains Gerberding’s testimony “was not watered down.”

Read the unredacted version of Gerberding’s testimony at Science Progress.