Statement by Assistant
to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the General Accounting Office
Investigation of General Noriega of
The General Accounting Office's request for information on General Noriega asks for a broad range of sensitive intelligence material, information from open law enforcement files, and material reflecting the deliberative decisionmaking process of the executive branch. Administration officials met with the GAO in an effort to narrow the request, which GAO declined to do.
the request involved extremely sensitive intelligence and law enforcement
information, and because the attempt to inquire into the deliberative process
of the executive branch raises serious constitutional concerns, we informed GAO
Consistent with the legal advice we have now received from the Justice Department, we will be informing GAO that we cannot participate in the study as currently designed. The administration is prepared to meet with GAO to discuss the legal issues involved. Moreover, if GAO reformulates its request in a manner consistent with its statutory authority and the legal principles involved, we will respond to any such new request in an appropriate manner.