By Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
April 24 2007
The White House was yesterday accused by a senior Democratic congressman
of systematically ignoring security breaches and violations involving
classified material, including leaving "sensitive" classified
information unattended in a hotel room.
Henry Waxman, chairman of the House oversight committee, said interviews
with current and former White House security personnel raised questions
about alleged failures by the Bush administration to investigate
In a letter to Andrew Card, former White House chief of staff, Mr Waxman
asked him to testify voluntarily before the House committee for
Mr Waxman's inquiry into White House security policies followed a
hearing last month in which James Knodell, chief security officer at the
White House, said his office had never conducted an internal
investigation to identify who leaked the name of Valerie Plame,a former
covert CIA agent, to several reporters.
The matter was investigated by a special prosecutor at the Justice
Department, Patrick Fitzgerald, who oversaw the conviction of Lewis
"Scooter" Libby, a former aide to vice-president Dick Cheney, on
obstruction and perjury charges.
Mr Waxman said security officers told the House committee they were
prohibited from conducting unannounced inspections of the White House's
West Wing. The unnamed officials told Mr Waxman that, while security
specialists had access to the West Wing during the Clinton
administration, access was revoked by the Bush administration.
In one case, an unnamed senior White House official instructed the
security office to block inspection of the West Wing by officers of the
Information Security Oversight office, which has authority to conduct
inspections of all executive offices.
Officials who spoke to Mr Waxman criticised Mr Knod-ell and his deputy,
Ken Greeson, as "poor managers . . loath to inconvenience or embarrass
White House officials". "I have to give Representative Waxman credit for
persistence, if not creativity. We haven't arrived at any new policies
to make Senior White House officials available to testify to Congress
since Representative Waxman's previous letter. And I don't expect a new
policy when we receive tomorrow's letter," the White House security
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007
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