Senate issuing subpoenas for Pentagon data

By Lolita C. Baldor: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A Senate committee issued subpoenas to the Pentagon on Tuesday asking for more information on the decisions to shut down military installations.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., the ranking Democrat, authorized the subpoenas for the panel.

The subpoenas were served by facsimile late Tuesday.

The legal move comes after weeks of complaints from members of Congress and state officials about the slow release of information from the Pentagon and the lack of backup material being provided. Officials have also objected that much information is classified and therefore cannot be discussed in public or at any of the upcoming hearings on the newest round of proposed base closures.

“The department knew this day was coming,” Collins said. “There is absolutely no excuse for the department not to have completed the declassification process by now. That’s just another example of foot dragging.”

The committee also is seeking additional e-mails and internal Defense Department memos underlining the decisions.

The Pentagon will have until noon Monday to provide the information.

Pentagon officials have repeatedly said they are releasing the information as quickly as they can. They are in the process of declassifying much of the information so it can be released publicly.

The Pentagon announced its list of proposed base closings and realignments on May 13, and hearings by the independent Base Realignment and Closure Commission are scheduled to begin next week.

The first will from 1-3 p.m. June 15 at Hering Auditorium in Fairbanks, where three of the nine BRAC commissioners have confirmed they will take testimony on the proposed realignment of Eielson Air Force Base.