CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE NOW SEEKS TO DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM INTELLIGENCE ROLE IN BUSH ADMINISTRATION
FITSNews - May 29, 2008 - A Democrat running for U.S. Congress in South Carolina served as the Bush administration’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight - a high-profile position that pre-dated the September 11 terrorist attacks and also covered the controversial build-up to the War in Iraq.
George “Blaine” Lotz, who is running in the Democratic primary for South Carolina’s Second Congressional District, held his post for the duration of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure - although Lotz is now telling Democrats in South Carolina that he “never met” Rumsfeld and had to “salute smartly and press on” regarding the controversial intelligence which served as the basis for the U.S.-led military action in Iraq.
Details of Lotz’s high-profile Pentagon position could prove extremely damaging to his candidacy, however, as Democrats - and for that matter, former Bush spokesman Scott McClellan - have been sharply critical of the administration’s thin justification for the Iraq War.
According to documents obtained exclusively by FITSNews, Lotz began working at the Pentagon after retiring from the Air Force in 1992. He joined the Department’s Senior Executive Service four years later and in 1998 was appointed Assistant Secretary for Intelligence Oversight.
Lotz was in this high-ranking intelligence position in the years leading up to the September 11 attacks, in which America’s intelligence community was widely believed to have been “caught napping” by al Queda.
As Assistant Secretary, Lotz described himself as Rumsfeld’s “eyes and ears” on intelligence issues, and also referred to himself as “the policeman, if you will, for the Defense Department.”
In 2002, he described his office as being responsible for
In reporting directly to Rumsfeld, Lotz also provided President Bush’s Intelligence Oversight Board with
Many of these “improper activities” stemmed from the implementation of a so-called “Total Information Awareness” program at the Defense Department, a post-September 11 effort that has been widely criticized as one of the most far-reaching domestic snooping efforts in American history.
In fact, a November 2002 column written by William Safire described the program as follows:
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as ”a virtual, centralized grand database.” To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver’s license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop’s dream: a ”Total Information Awareness” about every U.S. citizen.
As a result of these and other criticisms, Lotz conducted a December 2002 review of the program which concluded that no “rights of United States persons” had been violated in its implementation.
Lotz does list his Pentagon service briefly on his website biography, although there is no mention of Rumsfeld.
Lotz also lists ending the War in Iraq as his number one priority, and criticizes Republican incumbent Joe Wilson for being a “rubber stamp” for the Bush Administration.