By DANA LIEBELSON
Today, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) again threw her political weight into fighting secrecy at the Department of Defense (DoD), in particular, the DoD's justification for keeping secret information related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
As POGO reported last month, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently released a redacted report on the water contamination at Camp Lejeune in response to a very legally dubious request by the Navy, which, citing security concerns about releasing “critical infrastructure information,” appeared to pressure the agency into not releasing the report in full. The critical infrastructure information that was kept secret happened to be related to the location of certain water wells which were contaminated for more than 30 years—but are still active.
Maloney sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta raising concerns about the Navy’s request and asking him pointed questions about how he plans to implement the “public interest balancing test” she helped author and pass last year. The new law requires the Defense Secretary, or designee, to use the test and determine whether security interests outweighs other public interests before withholding critical infrastructure information sought under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Rep. Maloney is certainly not the only one troubled by the Navy and Marine Corps’ actions.