“Overlook” Does Not Equal “Oversee”

1 comment April 23rd, 2007at 04:25pm Posted by Eli

Oh my. By way of The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin, it looks like Henry Waxman is preparing some more Must-See-C-Span-TV for us:

Dear Mr. Card:

Since I first wrote you on March 30, 2007, I have received new information that suggests there may have been a systemic failure to safeguard classified information at the White House during and after your tenure as White House Chief of Staff. 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. I urge you to cooperate with the Oversight Committee’s investigation into these security lapses by testifying voluntarily before the Committee.

On March 16, 2007, the Oversight Committee held a hearing to examine the disclosure by White House officials of the covert status of CIA Officer Valerie Plame Wilson. At this hearing, the current Chief Security Officer at the White House, James Knodell, testified that the White House Security Office (1) did not conduct any internal investigation to identify the source of the leak, (2) did not initiate corrective actions to prevent future security breaches, and (3) did not consider administrative sanctions or reprimands for the officials involved. The failure of the White House to take these actions appears to be a violation of Executive Order 12958, which establishes minimum requirements for safeguarding classified information and responding to breaches.

Following the hearing, my staff heard from multiple current and former security officials who work or worked at the White House Security Office. These security officials described a systemic breakdown in security procedures at the White House. The statements of of these officials, if true, indicate that the security lapses that characterized the White House response to the leak of Ms. 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.

Waxman then goes into greater detail on the three main categories of violation:

1) Failure to react to security breaches, even after they were reported to the WH Security Office by the Secret Service. “Several of the security violations involved mishandling of ‘Sensitive Compartmentalized Information’ (SCI), the highest level of classified information, such as leaving SCI materials unattended in a hotel room.”

2) Obstructing lawful inspections by the Information Security Office of the National Archives.

3) Lax management by Knodell and his deputy, who regularly ignored WH security procedures and allowed other WH officials to do the same.

Feel safe yet? On the bright side, maybe we don’t need to subpoena the RNC’s mail servers to find out who chose the USAs to be fired – maybe the info will just turn up in a hotel room someday.

Nah, on second thought, they’re pretty careful about keeping the important stuff secret.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans

1 Comment

  • 1. elmo  |  April 23rd, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Oh yeah! Wax on, Wax off!

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