Is Bush above the law?

President George W. Bush has long believed he and those who work for him are above the law and not subject to the rules that govern the rest of America.

And that is exactly what the Justice Department is arguing in its latest claim that records in the White House Office of Administration are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

At issue is whether or not the law can ever be used to force the Bush Administration to be open and honest with the American people.

Reports Pete Yost of The Associated Press:

The department’s argument is in response to a lawsuit trying to force the office to reveal what it knows about the disappearance of White House e-mails.

The Office of Administration provides administrative services, including information technology support, to the Executive Office of the President. Most of the White House is not subject to the FOIA, but certain components within it handle FOIA requests. Last year the Office of Administration processed 65 FOIA requests.

However, the Justice Department maintained in court papers filed Tuesday that the Office of Administration has no substantial authority independent of President Bush and therefore is not subject to the FOIA’s disclosure requirements.

The office has prepared estimates that there are at least 5 million missing White House e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005, according to the lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a private advocacy group.

The White House has said it is aware that some e-mails may not have been automatically archived on a computer server for the Executive Office of the President.

The e-mails, the White House has said, may have been preserved on backup tapes.

“The Office of Administration is looking into whether there are e-mails not automatically archived; and once we determine whether or not there is a problem, we’ll take the necessary steps to address it,” said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.

The first indication of a problem came in early 2006 when special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald raised the possibility that records sought in the CIA leak investigation involving the outing of Valerie Plame could be missing because of an e-mail archiving problem at the White House.

The issue came into focus early this year amid the uproar over the firing of U.S. attorneys. It turned out that aides to Bush improperly used Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts for official business and that an undetermined number of e-mails had been lost in the process.

The Justice Department Web site, which lists all FOIA contacts inside the government, identifies seven units inside the Executive Office of the President as responding to FOIA requests, including the Office of Administration.

The Office of Administration “has certainly acted like an agency in the past,” said Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, a private group advocating public disclosure of government secrets.

Fuchs’ organization filed a request in February 2006 after Fitzgerald revealed that e-mails might be missing. When the Office of Administration finally denied the private group’s request in June of this year, the office said it was not an “agency” as defined by the Freedom of Information Act and was therefore not subject to the law’s requirements.

The administration has been resisting disclosure of information on an array of fronts.

In September 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney’s lawyer instructed the Secret Service that it “shall not retain any copy” of material identifying visitors to the vice president’s official residence. The lawyer, Shannen Coffin, wrote the letter as The Washington Post sought copies of Cheney’s visitors.

The letter regarding the vice president’s residence was in addition to an agreement quietly signed between the White House and the Secret Service when questions were raised about visits to the executive compound by convicted influence peddler Jack Abramoff.

That agreement, which didn’t surface publicly until late last year, said White House entry and exit logs were presidential records not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

When the agreement was signed in May 2006, a number of private groups and news organizations had filed FOIA requests with the Secret Service in an effort to identify how many times Abramoff or members of his lobbying team visited the White House.


  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Yes the Spineless Jellyfish known as Nancette Pelosi and her Senate Jellyfish counterpart, Hairy Reed are useless bits of fecal matter.

    Nancette is a damn traitor in the pocket of AIPAC which was clearly demonstrated when she addressed a gathering of the AIPAC lobby way back in March leading up to the May Iraq spending bill and they booed her when she brought up the provision to require Bush to get permission to bomb Iran, and surprise, surprise, the next day she removed that provsion.

    We can’t abide by a lemming like Nancette who voted for the Patriot act, that makes decsions based on what is politcally expedient at the time.

    The Democrats have never had their noggins as far up their asses as they do now. Congressional spinelesscrats never would have gained those seats in the House had they campaigned on passing non-binding bills to stop the war. I despise the Democrats like I never have.

    The noise coming out of the Democratic presidential candidates is a go slow approach on withrdrawl of troops from Iraq. If Pillary or Obama get the candidacy, I sure as hell won’t vote for them.

    Edwards I’m not sure about, but he certainly is more palatable then Go-Girl-Go Hillary or Obama. The way the Jack-Ass Party is going, even Edwards who seems to be reasonable may just be part and parcel of the rest of the Jack-Ass party gags.

    Kucinich is who gets my vote in the primaries, but it is next to impossible that he can buck the Democratic Leadership Councils shenanigans and electoral BS to be in the running for the Presidential election, but never the less I’ll vote for him in the primary.

    Seal, you are godamn right about 9/11 being produced by
    BushCo. Just look at the Department of Defenses Operation Northwoods plan in 1962 to simulate a terrorist attack on American soil to generate public support for military action against Cuba. They were willing to carry it so far as to actually kill Americans in this gag. Gag is a Hollywood term for
    special effects, and BushCo is the biggest special effect ever pawned off on America.

    The Neo Con agenda is based on the Godfather of the
    Neo-Con movement by a Chicago University professor named Leo Strauss who advocated all the sorts of Operation Northwoods type gags.

    There is an excellent BBC documentary, The Power of Nightmares, that highlights the Neo-Con movement and Leo Strauss. It can be downloaded from the net.

    Stupid Jack Ass Party.

  2. SEAL

    This bunch of goons would have been tried and hung long ago if there were any patriots in Washinton DC.

    The majority of those in congress knows who committed 9/11. But the perps will never pay for it because we can not bring ourselves to admit it and all that followed to the world. The rationale is that would do more harm to the country.

    The reality is it would be the best thing that could happen.

  3. StratoLiner

    After creating a set of international crises through illegal unilaterism and then by domestically declaring unheard of wartime powers what national safeguard exists to protect the American Union and its democratic authorities from one (1) Washington based madman? George is totally boxed in and only wants the bar-room fight. Confrontation is how he feel like a man, but never actually fighting the fight, thats left to body guards and soldiers and Secret Service goons. This is a madman who wishes for a Texas Guns Blazing Exit as his glorious he-man way of saving his skin from the ex-dictator prisoner box at the War Crimes Tribunal / Court at the Hague.

  4. geyser

    Mr. Bush has broken a law or done someting illegal since November 2000. Six years past and finally a chance to stop the madness that has gone on, a chance to start fixing all that has been broken and lay dormant. We could not guess that it was not meant to be. Have we been lied to for such a long time that it was done again only this time by what we thought was an ally. Bush will continue to be above the law, we don’t know why we are being betrayed, we did what was asked of us and in return a slap in the face.
    Is there no one who will stand up and say what has to be said so, what can be done, be done?
    Nancy Pelosi has looked us in the eye and lied to us. She is a traitor, not because she will not stand up to Bush, but, has agreed to what he wants and gives it to him. What happened that caused this turn around? One day we were ready to start Impeachment proceedings and the next day, Impeachment is gone and what Bush asks for, Bush gets, without so much as a peep.

    The Democrats are looking forward to the elections of 2008 They are anticipating victory in the race for president. Let them take heed, if something isn’t done to stop Bush by September, 2007, they will lose my vote. I have a gut feeling I won’t be alone.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  5. SEAL

    Lexie: what makes you think They didn’t make 9/11 happen?

    “A society that will trade a little order for a little
    freedom will lose both, and deserve neither. If a
    nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects
    what never was and never will be . . . A democratic
    society depends upon an informed and educated
    citizenry. Information is the currency of democracy.”

    *Thomas Jefferson*

    American citizens are guaranteed the right of freedom of assembly and that doesn’t mean: Freedom of Assembly – as long as what you’re doing is OK with the government.