White House silent on al-Qaida detainees

April 6, 2005 at 9:34 AM

WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Democrats are challenging the White House decision to maintain super secrecy over where and how about 35 al-Qaida suspects are being detained.

By law, the White House is required to notify the House and Senate Intelligence Committees of all intelligence-gathering activities. But the Bush administration has taken the stance that the secret detention program is too sensitive to be described to any members other than the top Republican and Democrat on each panel.

"These restricted briefings should be expanded," said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., a member of the House Intelligence Committee. "If we're going to do our jobs, we have to be informed."

Holt told the New York Times too few people have sufficient information to be effective.

"The two members of Congress who sometimes get briefed on these things have enough to do," Hold said. "It's too much to expect them to do oversight on things they can't talk about to anyone else, including other members."

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