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Reynolds Critical of Classified Base Closing Data

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – US Congressman Tom Reynolds is blasting the Pentagon for the data it has released regarding the base closing recommendations for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

The Republican congressman is not pleased with the Pentagon's so called release of information on the base closings. Reynolds says the information on the Falls base recommendation remains classified. While he has the right to review the material, he said the public does not.

"This is just plain unacceptable," Reynolds said. "They have had ample time to prepare a BRAC recommendation that would give this in declassified form for the public."

Reynolds says he believes the material would be a key component in preparing for the BRAC Commission hearing to be held in Western New York June 27th and demands that the Pentagon declassify it before the hearing date. Reynolds says he questions the criteria for proposing the closing of the Falls base, and transferring its C-130s to Little Rock and the KC 135s to Bangor, Maine.

"When you look at Bangor, Maine, they did not hold up equal to the 107th at Niagara on a number of criteria that the Pentagon said were important," Reynolds said. "That is why I think if we get a full fledged accounting of this material, it will give our experts an opportunity to help build our case for June 27th."

Reynolds says he plans to "hammer" away at the Pentagon until the data are declassified. But even though Reynolds is considered a powerful Republican in Washington, he says BRAC was actually designed to be outside the political process. "I wish that there was a little political process. I think it would add to an opportunity to do whatever is possible," Reynolds said. "But when Congress signed the law to create the BRAC Commission, the Pentagon said it was its responsibility for setting recommendations up."

Final recommendations from the BRAC Commission will be sent to President Bush by September 8th. It is up to Bush to reject or accept those recommendations. Then the President delivers them to Congress. Congress would have 45 days to approve or reject the base closings.