The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Waxman: 'Systematic' security failures in Bush White House

Waxman: 'Systematic' security failures in Bush White House
Michael Roston
Published: Monday April 23, 2007

The head of the House Committee on Oversight and Governance Reform warned today of a "systematic failure" in basic security procedures as well as the safeguarding of classified information in the White House of President George W. Bush.

"Multiple current and former White House security personnel have informed my staff that White House practices have been dangerously inadequate with respect to investigating security violations, taking corrective action following breaches, and physically securing classified information," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote to former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card today.

Waxman sought Card's cooperation in his probe of a "systematic breakdown" in White House security procedures.

According to Waxman, the security personnel "described a systemic breakdown in security procedures at the White House," and he warned that they suggested "that the security lapses that characterized the White House response to the leak of [former covert CIA Agent Valerie Plame] Wilson's identity were not an isolated occurrence, but part of a pattern of disregard for the basic requirements for protecting our national security secrets."

The Oversight Committee chairman listed consistent allegations presented to his committee. The White House, he reported in the letter, ignored security breaches, blocked West Wing security inspections, and condoned mismanagement of the White House Security Office.

Waxman's letter noted criticism of James Knodell, the Director of the White House Security Office, and Ken Greeson, the Deputy Director, for their inexperience and poor management.

"Security procedures prohibit bringing electronic communication devices into a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF)," Waxman wrote.

But in fact, subjects interviewed by his committee reported that "Mr. Knodell and Mr. Greeson habitually violate this prohibition by bringing Blackberry devices and cell phones into the SCIF...and allowed others, such as visiting White House personnel, to do the same. They said that this practice continued even after security officers repeatedly informed Mr. Knodell and Mr. Greeson that the practice violates security rules and sets a poor example."

In another case, Waxman's letter did not name anyone, but referred to an alarming breach committed by Bush White House staff.

"A White House official left [Sensitive Compartmented Information] material behind in a hotel room during a foreign trip with the President. Although the CIA recovered the SCI material and reported the incident, the White House Security Office did not investigate, seek remedial action, or discipline the responsible official," he wrote.

The Oversight Committee's letter is up at its website.


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