Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Secrets and Lies
Harriet the Judge

Salon's War Room asks a very good question:

Who died and gave James Dobson a security clearance?

While other leaders of the religious right are reacting cautiously to the nomination of Harriet Miers, Dobson says he's all in. Karl Rove lobbied for the support of the Focus on the Family leader even before Miers' name was announced, and his efforts paid off: On his radio show, Dobson is telling listeners that they should get behind Miers now.

What makes Dobson so comfortable with Bush's nominee? He won't say, exactly. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," Dobson tells the New York Times.

How's that again? The White House says it can't talk about the Valerie Plame case because the special prosecutor has expressed a "preference" that it not do so. John Roberts says he can't talk about issues that matter to the Senate Judicary Committee because they might come before the Supreme Court some day. George W. Bush says he can't talk about advice Miers has given him at the White House because doing so would undermine executive privilege.

OK, fine. But why can't James Dobson talk about what he has learned about Harriet Miers?

I'm sick and tired (and have been for a looonng time) of this administration's possessed obsession with secrecy and filtering of information. And it's not just limited to the big issues noted above. Daily Kos diarist curtadams notes that folks at the National Weather Service now must clear all their communications with the press:

Reality has been hard on the Bush administration lately.  Part of the slow response from the federal government to Katrina resulted from the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA using different weather services.  DHS used a weather service which has made large contributions to [Pennsylvania Senator Rick] Santorum, who in turn introduced a bill to prohibit the National Weather Service from releasing information that is available from private weather companies - which is to say, anything.  NWS will still have the privilege of providing these companies with information for free, paid for by taxpayers.

Now the Bush administration has taken a new tactic to reduce the effectiveness of the National Weather Service and reduce the chance that weather facts will refute administration spin or show up private companies (which cannot currently match the NWS' hurricane forecast accuracy)

NWS must obtain approval before they talk to the media. Employees must obtain the following:

-The name of the reporter and their affiliation
-Their deadline and contact phone number
-The name of the individual being requested to give the interview
-The purpose of the interview
-The expertise of the requested interviewee on this subject.

send it to the Department of Commerce, and get approval.


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