Stories like this one deserve quite a bit more attention than they generally receive.
Security practices at the White House are dangerously inadequate say current and former employees of the security office there, according to a letter sent today from the House Oversight Committee to former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, asking that he cooperate with the committee’s investigation into the alleged security lapses.
“These security officials described a systemic breakdown in security procedures at the White House,” wrote the chairman of the committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
Among the lapses cited by the security officers, who spoke to the committee anonymously, are multiple instances of breaches being reported to the security office that were ignored and never investigated. Several of those instances allegedly involved the mishandling of SCI (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information), which is the highest level of classified information.
The White House’s treatment of classified materials ranges from clumsy to negligent to near-criminal. And we’re not just talking about the obvious scandals such as outing a covert CIA operative for partisan purposes ; there’s more of a casual disregard for keeping secrets secure. (In one instance, for example, a White House official reportedly left highly classified materials in a hotel room during a foreign trip with Bush. In another, the deputy director of the White House Security Office allegedly put classified material on an unsecured computer.)
The irony, of course, is that the Bush gang appears to value secrecy above almost anything else, but when tasked with actually keeping national security materials under wraps, carelessness rules the day.