Shanahan memo mandating restrictions on Pentagon info to Congress irks lawmakers in both parties
In an internal May 8 Department of Defense memo that was only sent to selected members of Congress afterThe Washington Post first brought it to light, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has laid out new limits on how the Pentagon shares information with lawmakers about U.S. military operations around the world. Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe report that the memo sets a half-dozen guidelines. These include the requirement that Pentagon officials and political appointees scrutinize each congressional request for operations information to see if it “contains sufficient information to demonstrate a relationship to the legislative function.” Instead of providing the requested operational plan or order itself, the memo urges Pentagon officials to provide a summary briefing.
The expressed concern is that lawmakers won’t keep such information to themselves. However, a jaded cynic might take the view that this has nothing to do with national security, but is merely one more effort by the Trump regime to keep Congress in the dark. A Shanahan spokesman brushed off that implication, saying that the new policy seeks to expand “transparency and information sharing with Congress.” If the upside-downism in that statement weren’t so Orwellian it would be funny.