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US House subpoenas Pentagon documents on Katrina

[JURIST] The US House committee investigating the government's actions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] issued a subpoena Wednesday commanding Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] to turn over internal records on the Pentagon's efforts to stabilize public safety, mobilize active duty forces in the region and send supplies to victims. The subpoena was issued due to the committee's frustration with the administration's failure to turn over internal memos, e-mails and documents and calls for the DOD to deliver the requested materials by December 30. A Pentagon spokesman said that the committee's requests have been "very far reaching and very broad" but that the department is doing its best to provide the information as quickly as possible. The Hurricane Katrina Committee [official website] is considering issuing a similar subpoena for White House documents, but will wait until after a briefing Thursday to decide whether to take legal action. The White House has said it has already turned over 450,000 documents [press briefing transcript], but committee members say that officials are claiming executive privilege and refusing to turn over certain e-mails. Also Wednesday, FEMA officials said they will comply [press release] with a federal ruling [JURIST report] earlier this week ordering the department to continue providing hotel accommodations for hurricane evacuees. AP has more.

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