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EXCLUSIVE
Homeland Security: 'We're still looking for Gannon credentialing'

The Department of Homeland Security has responded to two Democratic members of Congress who requested for information relevant to the credentialing of a discredited White House correspondent, but say they have yet to locate the relevant documents, RAW STORY has learned.

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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) had previously filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department for all files related to the credentialing of a former White House correspondent and prostitute who was accused of having access to classified information, and has since faced accusations of plagiarism.

In essence, the Department responded that, "a search for files responsive to [their] requests is being conducted. When the results of the search are known, [they] will be notified."

Slaughter said she was gratified at the response, but dissatisfied with what she says is Bush's attempts to "stonewall" Congress.

"While I remain deeply disappointed that the President and White House continue to stonewall Congress and the American people by not providing any details on the nature of their relationship with this disgraced, discredited 'reporter,'" she wrote in a release to RAW STORY. "I am pleased to see the Department of Homeland Security complying with our request for more information."

The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee voted on party lines last month not to force Bush agencies to turn over any information relative to Gannon's credentialing.

The letter from Homeland Security, and the release from the members, follows.

 

Department of Homeland Security
United States Secret Service
Washington, D.C. 20223

Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts Branch
245 Murray Drive
Building 410
Washington, D.C. 20223

The Honorable Louise Slaughter
Ranking Member
Committee on Rules
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
File Number: 20050112 - 20050119

Dear Ms. Slaughter:

Thank you for submitting your Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts (FOI/PA) requests, received by the United States Secret Service, on March 8, 2005, for information pertaining to as follows:

File No. 20050112 - Pertaining to all records setting forth or discussing the standards the Secret Service or the White House impose on those who are granted access to the President and the White House Briefing Room.

File No. 20050113 - Pertaining to all records setting forth or discussing policies, procedures or guidelines discussing clearance into the White House Briefing Room, as it was applied to Mr. Guckert.

File No. 20050114 - Pertaining to the individual or agency responsible for requesting that the Secret Service conduct a security clearance for individuals or members of the media who wish to enter the White House Briefing Room.

File No. 20050115 - Pertaining to records relating to security qualifications for granting "permanent" White House press corps credentials and how they differ from those of a simple day pass.

File No. 20050116 - Pertaining to all records indicating or discussing whether and to what extent someone who is cleared for a daily pass is required to be cleared each time they return on subsequent visits to the White House Briefing Room, as in the case of Mr. Guckert.

File No. 20050117 - Pertaining to all records relating to how many daily passes are issued for White House briefings and Presidential press conferences at one time.

File No. 20050118 - Pertaining to all records setting forth or discussing who has the authority, if at all, to exempt an individual or member of the media from security clearance by the Secret Service in order to gain access to the White House Briefing Room.

File No. 20050119 - Pertaining to all records indicating how many times and on what days Mr. Guckert was cleared by the Secret Service into the White House, and at whose request; all records indicating what types of passes were issued for Mr. Guckert; all records of communication between the Secret Service and Mr. Guckert.

We wish to inform you that a search for files responsive to your requests is being conducted. When the results of the search are known, you will be notified.

Please use the file numbers indicated above in all future correspondence with this office.

We assure you that the search will be conducted as expeditiously as possible.

 

Sincerely,

Kathy J. Lyerly, SAIC, Freedom of Information & Privacy Acts Officer

Congresswoman Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) issued the following press release.

 

Homeland Security Department To Provide Details On Gannon
Department will follow through on Freedom of
Information Act Request by Reps. Slaughter & Conyers

Washington, DC - In a letter released today, the Department of Homeland Security indicated that they would begin compiling documentation on Jeff Gannon in an effort to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request made six weeks ago by Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee and Rep. John Conyers, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee.

"While I remain deeply disappointed that the President and White House continue to stonewall Congress and the American people by not providing any details on the nature of their relationship with this disgraced, discredited 'reporter,' I am pleased to see the Department of Homeland Security complying with our request for more information," said Rep. Slaughter. She continued, "Maybe now we will finally get to the bottom of this disgusting display of media manipulation."

"I look forward to reviewing the documents that we will eventually receive from our FOIA request. I am still disappointed, however, that the Administration continues to ignore our requests to voluntarily turn over information about how a phony report got such intimate access to the President. It is a sad day when U.S. Representatives have to make FOIA requests to get simple answers to important questions," said Rep. Conyers.

 

On February 15, Reps. Slaughter and Conyers filed a Freedom of Information Act requesting that the Department of Homeland Security release of all information related to Jeff Gannon, his credentialing/security clearance to cover the White House, the White House's involvement in credentialing/clearing reporters, and Gannon's involvement in the leaking of a classified Central Intelligence Agency memo containing the identity of undercover agent Valerie Plame.

Originally published Apr. 4, 2005.

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