This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) that would have required the Defense Department to disclose data relating to the maintenance of military aircraft provided that such information would not reveal flight patterns or tactical techniques or procedures. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Maloney urged support for her amendment: “It [the amendment] ensures an adequate balance between the Defense Department's appropriate need to protect tactical information while ensuring the public can learn, for example, when the military is not putting our pilots in the best maintained aircraft in the world. Just ask the parents of Jeffrey Smith, with whom I have spoken, one of 45 pilots who died in noncombat accidents in Harrier jets. The Los Angeles Times' reporter Kevin Sack pored through military investigative records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act to show military investigators believe a small shard of plastic clogged the fuel line of Smith's jet as it tore down the runway, leading the jet to crash at the end of the runway. The investigative series used the military's investigative records to show other problems with the Harrier jet, eventually winning a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Such reporting does nothing to reveal tactical or strategic advantages to our adversaries, but it could save the lives of our pilots, and it goes a long way to ensure our airmen and women are given the very best equipment to protect our nation.”
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) opposed the amendment: “…The gentlelady [Rep. Maloney] is right, there is a possibility--however remote it might be--that we could find something in this data that may save a life. That is a possibility, but the far more likely scenario is that we will give away crucial information that could jeopardize our pilots, jeopardize our fleet, and also jeopardize the men and women that they fly to protect. We could jeopardize disclosed fleet readiness rates, critical parts failure rates, and other sensitive logistics and sustainment data that we just shouldn't be giving out.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 91-329. Voting “yea” were 90 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 1 Republican. 234 Republicans and 95 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have required the Defense Department to disclose data relating to the maintenance of military aircraft provided that such information would not reveal flight patterns or tactical techniques or procedures.