Did I mention that it was thunderstorming something fierce here in SE Michigan? Yes, raining and pouring, too.
This morning, when I read the famous Executive Order that Cheney claims to have exempted himself from, I noticed a key paragraph:
The Attorney General, upon request by the head of an agency or the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, shall render an interpretation of this order with respect to any question arising in the course of its administration. [my emphasis]
You see, I'm no lawyer, but I have written enough pretty hardcore business and government documents to know there's a crucial difference between "shall" and "should." Shall is mandatory, with legal umph. Should is kind of wishy-washy, if you feel like it, ought to. So I was wondering when the Democrats were going to point out to Alberto Gonzales that he shall provide a response to Bill Leonard's request for a ruling on whether or not Cheney is, indeed, exempt from this Executive Order.
Ask and you shall receive:
Due to conflicting statements from your department, the status of your review of this matter is unclear. More than six months have passed since Mr. Leonard’s letter to you, and the Information Security Oversight Office has received no response to its inquiry. In response to a FOIA request, the department’s Office of Legal Counsel stated on June 4, 2007, that no documents exist relating to your department’s response to Mr. Leonard’s letter. A department spokesperson confirmed that no “substantive work product” has been generated by the department in this matter. Last week, however, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice stated that this matter is under review in the department.
To help our Committees understand your actions in response to the request from the Archives, as well as the Department’s views on the legal status of the Office of the Vice President, we ask that you provide written answers and documents in response to the following questions:
(1) What is the status of your department’s response to the January 2007 request from the Archives?
a. When did the review commence?
b. Which individuals at the department have been assigned to review this matter?
c. Please produce all documents relating to your department’s review of this matter, including without limitation all communications, analyses, memoranda, or other documents.
(2) Have officials from the Department of Justice ever communicated with officials from the White House, including the Office of the Vice President, concerning the request from the Archives or the issue of whether the executive order does or should apply to the Office of the Vice President?
a. If so, please identify and explain the substance of any such communication.
b. Please produce all documents relating to any such communication. [my emphasis]
Unfortunately, Waxman and Conyers are going to have to send a follow-up, based on Addington's latest BS explanation, because this request asks about the Fourth Branch BS excuse, not the Not an Agency excuse:
(3) Has the Department of Justice ever taken a position on or analyzed the issue of the status or existence of the Vice President or the Office of the Vice President within the executive branch, the legislative branch, both, or neither?
No matter. I'm sure Waxman will have to write a follow-up before Gonzales actually responds. So in that follow-up he can just substitute Addington's lame excuse of the day.