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Steve Clemons

Steve Clemons

Posted: February 6, 2006 01:13 PM

Don Rumsfeld Flips Off the Public's Right to Know About His $440 Billion Budget


whywefight.jpg

What is the Pentagon and Don Rumsfeld hiding?

Like it or not, the American media -- including blogger journalists -- are out there in part to keep government in check. What is evolving today, however, is more Rumsfeldian disdain for the press and for the right of Americans to look over his shoulder.

As one source has reported to me this morning:

The Pentagon, which in years past has handed out its detailed budget documents on Saturday or Friday, with an embargo till Monday morning, is now not giving us the documents until AFTER Rumsfeld briefs us.

The consequence:

(W)e will sit through his press conference without any detailed questions, and be rushing through the 300 or 400 pages of numbers after to try to file by deadlines.

Moreover, it has put out a press release that is embargoed till 2 pm, guaranteeing that they and they alone control the info that goes out in the first budget stories -- the stories will be limited to only what they have decided to reveal information about.

What is fascinating about the empire that Don Rumsfeld is running is that the WHITE HOUSE has already publicly released its budget.

According to sources, the Pentagon promised release of the documents at 8 a.m., then 10 a.m,, then 10:30 a.m.

Now, the media WILL NOT receive the budget materials until the opportunity to question Rumsfeld about them has passed.

Secretary Rumsfeld, this is no way to manage the budget request process for $440 billion in taxpayer money.

You are undermining democratic practice with the withering justification that you are fighting to preserve it.

Now that the President's State of the Union Address is over, Bush needs to clean house and reconnect with Americans and what democracy really means.

Eugene Jarecki
's Sundance Festival award winning film, "Why We Fight" calls for Eisenhower-inspired vigilance in monitoring the so-called 'military industrial complex'. John McCain is one of the many voices featured in the film and comes off as a serious national leader worried about ethics and transparency in government.

Rumsfeld's behavior today is the exact antithesis of what McCain represents in the film -- and is exactly what Eisenhower warned us about in his famous farewell address on January 17, 1961.

The Washington Note has learned that Senator McCain will appear on the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday evening -- and we hope Dave will ask John McCain what he thinks about Rumsfeld's imperial antics.

It's long overdue for Rumsfeld to clear his desk and be shown the door.