- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2001

President Bush has ordered national security departments to limit the disclosure of classified information to a few senior congressional leaders.
In a memorandum sent last week to the heads of six government agencies, Mr. Bush ordered the senior department chiefs not to provide classified information to members of Congress who are not part of the leadership.
Mr. Bush stated he would "continue to work closely with the Congress" during the campaign to respond to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Congressional leaders will be informed about military, intelligence and law enforcement operations, but other members of Congress will lose their access to sensitive military, intelligence, and law enforcement reports, Mr. Bush said in an Oct. 5 memorandum.
The memo was sent to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft, CIA Director George J. Tenet and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.
Mr. Bush told the department chiefs that "only you or officers expressly designated by you" can brief members of Congress on classified matters.
Additionally, the only members of Congress who can be told "classified or sensitive law enforcement information" are the House speaker, House majority and minority leaders, Senate majority and minority leaders, and the chairman and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence oversight committees.
"This approach will best serve our shared goals of protecting American lives, maintaining the proper level of confidentiality for the success of our military, intelligence and law enforcement operations, and keeping the leadership of the Congress appropriately informed about important developments," Mr. Bush wrote.
A White House National Security Council spokesman said the memorandum was a "pro forma communication" that was standard procedure and not written as the result of anger over any particular disclosure.

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