Pentagon restricting testimony in Congress

Submitted by WantToKnow.info on Sat, 19/05/2007 - 13:32

The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress, reserving the right to bar lower-ranking officers, enlisted soldiers, and career bureaucrats from appearing before oversight committees or having their remarks transcribed. The guidelines, described in an April 19 memo to the staff director of the House Armed Services Committee, adds that all field-level officers and enlisted personnel must be "deemed appropriate" by the Department of Defense before they can participate in personal briefings for members of Congress or their staffs. In addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded. Any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration. Veterans of the legislative process -- who say they have never heard of such guidelines before -- maintain that the Pentagon has no authority to set such ground rules. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the guidelines are new. The memo has fueled complaints that the Bush administration is trying to restrict access to information about the war in Iraq. [A] special House oversight panel, according to aides, has written at least 10 letters to the Pentagon since February seeking information and has received only one official reply. Nor has the Pentagon fully complied with repeated requests for all the monthly assessments of Iraqi security forces. Note: When the military begins to control the legislative, democracy begins to shift towards dictatorship. And for reliable information how the Pentagon cannot account for hundreds of billions of dollars, click here.

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