Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gov't Forcing Wildlife Group to Identify Who Leaked Controversial Draft Rules

The inspector general for the Commerce Department is trying to force a prominent environmental group to reveal who leaked the Bush administration's plans to weaken the Endangered Species Act just weeks before President Barack Obama took office. The investigation was triggered by Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, senior Republican on the Committee on Environment and Public Works. The case suggests that, under at least certain circumstances, the government will continue to pursue and identify federal employees who disclose sensitive documents about controversial U.S. policies -- a common practice under the Bush administration. The Obama administration last week put the disputed environmental plans on hold, and Obama said previously he opposed the move, which limits scientific reviews of projects that might harm endangered wildlife and plants. But that hasn't stopped the Commerce Department's inspector general, Todd Zinser, who in a highly unusual move sent an administrative subpoena to the National Wildlife Federation. The subpoena demanded documents that would identify who leaked the draft environmental rules, which were not marked sensitive, secret or otherwise confidential or classified...CNS News

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