Wednesday, May 24, 2006

In Furtherance of Corporatism

If you thought that the bungling and corruption exhibited by DoD contractors couldn't possibly get worse than it is right now, here's some news that declaims a whole new level of under-the-table dealings:
President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations.
Presidents themselves have always had authority, since the 1934 Securities Exchange Act, to do pardon companies working on top secret projects from full financial disclosure rules. Like so many other of Bush's activities in the last 5+ years, his delegation of this authority is unprecedented.

The larger worry that I see is not necessarily that Negroponte now has this ability but that the Bush administration's definition of just what constitutes "national security" is so vague, open-ended and nebulous, the potential exists to grant disclosure waivers to almost any corporation. Oil companies? Cleary, there's a national security issue the Bushies can easily embrace. The potential for abuse is, as with most things Bush, enormous. And it can now all be done without him having to acknowledge any complicity on his part.


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