WASHINGTON, DC—Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) are calling the Base Closing data made available by the Department of Defense “insufficient.” Senator Collins, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Ranking Member Senator Joseph Lieberman recently wrote to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on May 27th stating that DoDs failure to release supporting BRAC information immediately and completely had undermined the integrity of the process and that, therefore, they would use their subpoena power to obtain specific documents such as emails, memos, handwritten notes, if those documents were not immediately made available. While the Department of Defense has made available certain classified materials, the documents do not appear to be fully responsive to the Senators’ request and are not useful for base officials in public hearings and meetings.
“It is disappointing that nearly three weeks after the Base Realignment and Closure List was released by the Department of Defense, most of the supporting documentation is available only in classified form. This means that the documents cannot be used at public hearings, public meetings, or at meetings that are not held in a classified facility by people with security clearances. In addition, these documents would not be available for individual bases to use to make their cases in defense of keeping their facilities open,” said the Senators in a joint statement.
“The documents made available last night, unfortunately, do not appear to come close to addressing the requests that we made last week. The specific information that we requested would go a long way toward ensuring the integrity of the base realignment and closure process. While these documents are currently undergoing review, we have no indication thus far, that they satisfy our request. Once the review of these documents is completed, we will determine whether a subpoena is necessary,” Senators Collins and Lieberman added.
In response to the Senators’ letter late last week to Secretary Rumsfeld requesting immediate release of specific BRAC-related data, Acting Deputy Secretary Gordon England, writing on behalf of Secretary Rumsfeld, outlined the documents that the Department of Defense have made available to Members of Congress and those with security clearances. England’s letter, however, does not address the specific materials Senators Collins and Lieberman have requested relating to DoD’s possible consideration of factors not authorized by the BRAC statute.
Even if all of the data released becomes declassified, it does not include much of what Senators Collins and Lieberman believe the BRAC statute requires, which they requested last week.