Congress and Pentagon at Odds over Defense Reports

Congress and Pentagon at Odds over Defense Reports

Amid the battles various portions of the U.S. military are involved in around the world, there is one in DC raging now between Capital Hill and the Pentagon over the length and methodology of intelligence and analystic reports.  

This came into focus Wednesday when a Pentagon briefer presented Congressman Buck McKeon (R-CA) a Chinese military assessment that was only 19 pages long. McKeon took the meager report as a signal that the Pentagon is trying to control the flow in information in such as way so to keep from sharing major points with Congress, even when the Congressmen requesting it sits on the House Arms Services Committee.

McKeon immediately sent an “angry letter” to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and hastily held a press conference, where he said: “Taken in context with the issuance of gag orders, the requirement for senior officials to sign non-disclosure agreements and the tardiness of responses to requests for information, this policy reeks of obstructionism [and] a lack of transparency.” 

Ironcially, the 19 page report that started this mess was actually 4 pages longer than it was supposed to be: Panetta had actually set the limit at 15 pages, which is even worse. McKeon demanded the page limits on such reports be lifted within 24 hours, so information can be relayed thoroughly and completely.