MSNBC's David Shuster is reporting that the White House — in a "flip-flop" from statements made last year — is not releasing Hurricane Katrina-related documents or making senior officials available for a Congressional investigation.
We've been down this road before.
Substitute "9/11 Commission" or "Discussions On Warrantless Surveillance" or "Pre-War Intelligence" for "Katrina Investigation," and you get some insight into how the Bush Administration regards sharing information.
Why? Perhaps the administration doesn't want to create the opportunity for dissenting opinion. Perhaps because the less people really know, the larger the vacuum for administration spin. How else can one explain a history of fighting against the truth?
FIGHTING THE 9/11 COMMISSION
Initially, the administration was against forming the 9/11 Commission. Later, it took the unusual step of having President Bush and Vice President Cheney meet informally — not under oath — with the commission.
Shuster reports that the administration wants similar informal meetings with White House advisors now, rather than formal — under oath — testimony before Congress.
LIMITED DISCUSSION ON WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE
The administration claimed that it met with senior members of Congress before proceeding with its warrantless surveillance program. But various senators have said that they were either misinformed at the time about what the administration wanted to do, or not given a chance to express disapproval with the plan.
Although Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested that Congress would consider legislation to allow for warrantless surveillance, Bush has said he isn't interested in releasing details of the program, to allow for Congressional consideration. (Note: The Justice Department considered including a provision to cover warrantless surveillance in 2003 legislation, but later nixed those plans.)
YOUR INTELLIGENCE IS NOT MY INTELLIGENCE
The administration has repeatedly said it had access to the same pre-war intelligence as Congress. But the non-partisan Congressional Research Service disputed that, saying in a Dec. 15 report that the White House has access to a much broader ranger of intelligence reports than Congress.