Bush administration disregards reporting law

From the New York Times:

The Bush administration has informed Congress that it is bypassing a law intended to forbid political interference with reports to lawmakers by DHS. The August 2007 law requires the DHS chief privacy officer to report each year about Homeland Security activities that affect privacy, and requires that the reports be submitted directly to Congress “without any prior comment or amendment” by superiors at DHS or the White House.

But newly disclosed documents show that the Justice Department issued a legal opinion last January questioning the basis for that restriction, and that DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff later advised Congress that the administration would not “apply this provision strictly” because it infringed on the President’s powers.

Several members of Congress reacted with outrage to the administration’s claim, which was detailed in a memorandum posted this week on the Web site of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department.

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