Yesterday, the Bush administration released images of a Syrian nuclear reactor, destroyed last September by Israel, that it says was built with the help of North Korea. Hours before releasing the photos to the public, the administration briefed the House Intelligence Committee. Before yesterday, only a handful of “crucial members of Congress” had received “highly classified” briefings on the subject.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) blasted the administration yesterday, saying the briefing came “eight months later than what it should have been,” and said that trust betweeen Congress and the White House “does not exist.” Today on Fox News, he repeated his criticism, calling the timed — and selective — release “a massive spin operation by the administration” of which “Bill O’Reilly would have been proud.”
Fox’s Bill Hemmer grew visible annoyed by Hoekstra’s questioning of the administration’s motives, calling it “quite a charge” and insisting that “there is a perfectly good reason” for the selective and tardy release of information.
As Hoekstra should know, the Bush administration’s modus operandi is to keep Congress in the dark on many of the most important issues:
— The administration insists it does not need Congressional approval for a long-term force agreement with Iraq.
— The administration dragged its feet on briefing Congress about the warantless wiretapping program.
Considering the White House has even refused to show Congress documents relating to former NLF star Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan, why is Hoekstra surprised it refused to brief Congress for eight months on nuclear weapons proliferation?