As more scandals emerge about the federal response to Katrina, the Bush administration is battening down the hatches.
This week's big announcement: the White House has announced it will deny access to further information and undermine what little oversight power Congress had planned to exercise, reports the NY Times:
The Bush administration, citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, said Tuesday that it did not plan to turn over certain documents about Hurricane Katrina or make senior White House officials available for sworn testimony before two Congressional committees investigating the storm response. [...]
In response to questions later from a reporter, the deputy White House spokesman, Trent Duffy, said the administration had declined requests to provide testimony by Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff; Mr. Card's deputy, Joe Hagin; Frances Fragos Townsend, the domestic security adviser; and her deputy, Ken Rapuano.
Mr. Duffy said the administration had also declined to provide storm-related e-mail correspondence and other communications involving White House staff members. [...]
[E]ven Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, objected when administration officials who were not part of the president's staff said they could not testify about communications with the White House.
"I completely disagree with that practice," Ms. Collins, chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in an interview Tuesday.
In the same story: the administration won't "support ... legislation creating a federally financed reconstruction program for the state that would bail out homeowners and mortgage lenders."
So much for Bush's September 15 pledge in New Orleans to "do what it takes" and "stay as long as it takes" to rebuild the Gulf.