House condemns bank data disclosure

June 30, 2006 at 1:18 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to condemn recent news reports about a classified government program to monitor banking records.

The House approved a resolution Thursday urging the media to cooperate in keeping such programs secret, The New York Times reported.

The resolution passed 227-183, in a largely party-line vote, the newspaper said, after days of public criticism by President George W. Bush and other Republican officials -- targeted at The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, which published details about the program.

During a debate on the House floor Thursday, Republicans said the news accounts jeopardized the program, while Democrats accused Republicans of politicizing the issue and trying to intimidate the press.

"The recent front-page story in the aforementioned New York Times cut the legs out from under this program," said the resolution's author, Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio. "Now the terrorists will be driven further underground."

"We are here today because there hasn't been enough red meat thrown at the Republican base just before the Fourth of July recess," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

Bush called the newspaper reports "disgraceful" and a "great harm" to national security.

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