Tj Templeton, POAC editor
For the people of this country to be free from tyranny, we the people must hold our leaders accountable for the actions they take. When questionable practices by the executive become apparent, it is the duty of our elected representatives in Congress to investigate these actions. Unfortunately since the republicans control all branches of government, this process is broken. The same party that had no problem launching fruitless investigations into the dealings of a Democratic president (Whitewater, travel-gate, file-gate, etc etc.) is completely unwilling to pursue investigations that the overwhelming majority of Americans are calling for. This is the administration that spent more money investigating Monica Lewinsky than they did the 9-11 tragedy. We know what they are willing to investigate, now let’s look at what they refuse to investigate.
· President Bush personally blocked inquiries into NSA warrantless domestic phone tapping program. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Senators internal investigators wanted to look at the role justice department lawyers had played in drafting the program. Mr. Bush had refused them security clearance. Originally it was said that the program was a response to 9-11. It’s since been learned that the U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to court papers filed in New York federal court on June 23. Sources: Think Progress and Andrew Harris, Bloomberg.com
· The Bush administration tried to block the creation of the 9-11 Committee. Not only did the White House oppose formation of the Commission, but resisted providing the Commission with the time and resources it needed to carry out its work. Time Magazine reported last year that the White House “brushed off” a request by Commission Chairman Tom Kean to boost the investigation’s budget by $11 million, even though the Commission stated it could not complete the investigation without the funds. One would think that if the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history occurred on your watch, that you would want to investigate the events leading up to it to prevent it from happening again. Source: Center for American Progress Bush even prevented the committee from having access to their own notes.
· 9 billion missing in Iraq. No investigation . Six congressional committees are investigating the United Nations Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican committee chairman will call a hearing to investigate the mishandling of $9 billion dollars by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Congressman Dennis Kucinich has requested a Federal Grand Jury Investigation and California Democrat Mike Thompson is the chief sponsor of the War Funding Accountability Act which would have Congress review the accounting every three months. Certain other Congresspeople are refusing to investigate this theft of $9 billion, doesn’t that make them accessories to the crime? Source: Corpwatch.org
· Bush blocked the investigation into the nation’s worst power blackout in history, back in 2003. The Bush administration consolidated the investigation into the nation’s worst power blackout, saying that the usual industry watchdog group would forgo its independent probe and work with The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), an industry-sponsored group . Source: H. Josef Hebert , Associated Press
· White House Blocks Pentagon/AIPAC Spy Investigation An FBI investigation into suspected security breaches involving Pentagon officials and Israel is unlikely to result in prosecution of senior figures following pressure from the White House, according to people familiar with the case. The investigations came to light in 2004, when officials confirmed reports that a mid-level analyst at the Pentagon, was the subject of an FBI inquiry into whether he passed classified information to an Israeli diplomat in Washington and to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential lobby group. Source: Guy Dinmore © Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2004.
· Bush administration shielded current and former White House officials from being interviewed in an investigation into the Education Department’s hiring of commentator Armstrong Williams as covert propagandist. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said the inspector general, Jack Higgins, told him that he is being barred from interviewing current and former White House staffers who may have knowledge of the $240,000 contract the department had with Williams. It called for Williams to promote the discredited No Child Left Behind education program. Higgins was trying to examine whether the deal constituted “covert propaganda.” Source: Greg Toppo, Jim Drinkard and Mark Memmott, USA TODAY
· Senators leading the Senate inquiry into the US government’s response to Hurricane Katrina claimed the White House was “crippling the investigation”. Democrat Joseph Lieberman, a member of the Senate panel , and often a Bush policy supporter, accused the White House of being unwilling to hand over documents which might explain why no action was taken. The committee’s Republican chairwoman, Sen. Susan Collins, echoed his criticism of the government. While some of the president’s communications were covered by executive privilege, the administration had gone too far in restricting information about who phoned whom on what day, she said. Homeland Security Committee senators said agency officials had refused to answer questions about times and dates of meetings and telephone calls with the White House. Source: BBC News
· White House Blocked Probe of Sept. 11-Saudi Link. Florida Senator Bob Graham, the Democrat who co-chaired Congress’s probe into the September 11 attacks, wrote in his book, “Intelligence Matters” that Saudi government agents were part of a support network in the United States for two hijackers who took part in the devastating strikes but President George W. Bush’s administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation blocked Congress’s investigation into the alleged ties. Graham wrote that congressional staff were stopped by the White House and the FBI from conducting interviews for the investigation and some details of the agents’ alleged financial support were part of 27 pages from the September 11 panel’s final report but were blanked out by the White House. Source: Agence France-Presse
· General Accounting Office (GAO), was forced take legal action to force the vice president to turn over a list of those who attended meetings of the energy task force chaired by Cheney. To fulfill its statutory responsibility, GAO sought documents from Vice-President Cheney relating to Energy Task Force expenditures. But in a literally unprecedented move, the White House said no. Amazingly, it did so without even bothering to claim that the documents sought were covered by executive privilege. It simply refused. In the end, GAO had to go to court to try to get the documents to which it plainly was entitled. On December 9, 2002, GAO lost in court. Then, on February 9, 2003, the Comptroller General announced GAO’s decision not to appeal. He said he feared that another adverse decision would cause the agency to lose even more power, more permanently. Several news accounts suggest that it was the Republican leadership of Congress that stopped the appeal. Source: John W. Dean FindLaw © 2003 FindLaw