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April 23, 2007


Given that the VP's executive branch functions, as defined by the Constitution, are very limited, what are they actually doing over there that they can't meet their reporting requirements?

(I don't expect any honest answers from them. For one thing, I doubt they'd know an honest answer if it jumped up and chewed on their cojones.)

See "Worse Than Watergate."

Bush hid his TX governor's papers from the TX archives as well.

These guys hate evidence.

PJ Evans, Josh Marshall kinda believes Cheney thinks he's a fourth branch of the government, answerable to no one.


Scary, huh?

Re Cheney's proposition that the OVP is a 4th branch of the govt...I see this claim as a massive game of chicken, just daring to see who has the cajones to takehim and his idiosynchratic idea on and refuse to blink.

Given the behavior of gun-shy Dems during the days of the Rubber Stamp Congress, it will be interesting to see if anyone has the intestinal fortitude to take him on.

Because if they do, they are bound to win in the long run. Those last two words (combined with the capacity to "stay the course") being key.

Re Cheney's proposition that the OVP is a 4th branch of the govt...I see this claim as a massive game of chicken, just daring to see who has the cajones to take him and his idiosyncratic idea on and refuse to blink.

Given the behavior of gun-shy Dems during the days of the Rubber Stamp Congress, it will be interesting to see if anyone has the intestinal fortitude to take him on.

Because if they do, they are bound to win in the long run. Those last two words (combined with the capacity to "stay the course") being key.

Sounds like dogs are heading towards Waxman's office, the number of whistles being blown there.

I'm really beginning to buy into the idea that these thieves truly believe they have a unitary executive. They answer to no one. They think they can do what they want. Gonzales did exactly what he was supposed to do last week -- give no real data. All that practicing he did was to develop answers that would NOT give any valuable information. He may have looked pretty stupid, but the only person he felt accountable to was W -- and W isn't going to fire him. He's daring Congress to even try.

Pray tell, when would Mr. Cheney be classifying documents when NOT acting in "peformance of [his] executive duties"? Why the redundancy? Is it meant to cover Mr. Cheney when performing various executive duties, such as those of President as well as Vice President? Or is it meant to exclude his purported performance of "legislative" duties, the list of which he also seems to hide.

If I were Waxman, I would also want to know if EO 12958 has been modified by a secret protocol, exempting the Vice President from compliance, or allowing the President and Vice President to determine for themselves when and when they will not comply?

Gonzales did exactly what he was supposed to do last week -- give no real data. All that practicing he did was to develop answers that would NOT give any valuable information.

EXACTLY! I wish the MSM would pick up on that. What a joke.

Hell, I wish the SENATORS would just SAY that. They're affording these crooks entirely too much decorum. They need to be called out in plain, provocative English that the double-digit IQ morons who vote for them can understand.

Information Security Oversight Offrce

I knew there was a orifice involved here somehow.

If they leave no record, then their decisions are useless as a basis of precedent. Let's make sure that the unitary executive expires before Dick.

In re: the concept of the unitary executive, if Bush is so omnipotent, and Cheney is so smart, why are going through this charade of funding (or defunding, or whatever) the war? Maybe they truly do not believe that they need congressional approval on anything -- unless it suits their purposes to make it appear that we live in a democracy. Bush is going to find out very shortly that being President is hard work -- much harder than he ever imagined!

In the meantime, I hope that Democrats and Republicans both will begin banding together to stop this circle jerk and restore some semblance of democracy to our country, and deliver us from this evil!

Just out of curiosity, what might have happened in 2003-2004 to cause Cheney to stop reporting? (I'm assuming there *was* a reason of some kind, other than his desire for secrecy, since he'd been reporting before.)

P J Evans,


I've been sitting and staring at this stuff for some time now, but unable to get motivated to try to put together a theory on it. I thought I'd get the spark when Gonzales ended up on the hot seat, since it was to Gonzo that Leonard turned, seeking enforcement of ISOO protocols against Cheney. (Fat chance.)

Still, nothing.

I guess I'm trying to figure out how the outward appearances would be different if the OVP were actually the seat of an espionage ring.

Just out of curiosity, what might have happened in 2003-2004 to cause Cheney to stop reporting? (I'm assuming there *was* a reason of some kind, other than his desire for secrecy, since he'd been reporting before.)

PJ Evans -- I suspect "what might have happened" actually occurred in 2001; it was the Energy Task Force run by Cheney. EO 13233 was enacted in November 2001, in part to shield documents from the Task Force from FOIA requests by Judicial Watch and Sierra Club. I don't know that Cheney and the OVP ever made full disclosure, although ordered to do so in early March 2002. It would be nice to see those Energy Task Force documents sooner rather than later, since they just might have some bearing on other cases of interest (ex. do they spell out the energy entities with which Brewster & Jennings might have worked?)

Note also that the National Archivist was "replaced" in Feb. 2005, in contravention to past practices (sounds like the U.S. Attorneys' dismissals, doesn't it?); the current archivist superceded his predecessor John Carlin after a dispute about EO 13233, Wikipedia notes. Hmm.

Kagro X -- remember TPM noting Elliott Abrams' key learnings review program covering Iran-Contra? What if it's Iran-Contra all over again, but the NEW and IMPROVED Vesion of I-C, now with all the former failings corrected?

“One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.

So instead of CIA they use a combination of counter-Iranians and Israeli intel, playing them against each other, in exchange for information and access and other goodies that are more valuable than money or drugs or weapons, with the ultimate goal the spoils of Iraq, control of the next largest future field of oil and the subsequent marketplace, along with the profiteering spoils of war.

Where there's a need to "shield operations from the prying eyes of others," there's something untoward and most likely undemocratic lurking, hidden just below the surface.

Here's how it plays out:

1. Cheney plays fast and loose with Presidential Authority, on 9/11 and with handling of classified documents and facts. Things that the President clearly has authority to do, but has never been granted to the VP.

On 9/11 Bush was hiding in a broom closet in FL while Cheney was calling the shots in DC. These things happen when you need someone to take charge, and Cheney might be forgiven for that. But he went too far with the Plame case.

2. When counsel points out how close he is to getting his dick caught in his zipper, he takes steps to remedy his condition, after the fact.

Should Waxman want to conduct hearings on the Presidential Records Act, and much detail around its passage and how various Administrations since the mid 1970's have complied, he could do no better than to call as a witness Former VP Walter Mondale.

Mondale recently discussed this on local radio, as he was one of the primary authors before he left the Senate in 1976 to become VP, and even though the Carter/Mondale administration was not legally obliged to follow it, they did, to the letter. Mondale's recent remarks were in the context of the subject of Waxman's hearings, and the whole matter of Cheney.

Essentially what Mondale said was that he put all his Carter/Mondale papers into the Office of the President with just a few exceptions. Asked about these -- he talked about Senate Projects he willed to other Senators (Early Childhood Ed went to Ted Kennedy for instance), He noted that Hubert Humphrey died early in the Carter Administration, and he did much to found the Humphrey Institute, set its program, raise funds and all -- and he saw that as Personal Mondale and not Carter Presidency. But otherwise, he understood his work as an extension of the Carter Administration -- and they got DOJ rulings and all, and thus his work is archived as Executive Office of the President. Of course much of it will be in his own papers eventually, but those will only be copies -- the work of Carter/Mondale is at the Carter Center. It is mostly open and available, and has been since 1993 (12 years after the end of the administration).

I hope people will understand this not as just a matter of Cheney or Bush, but as an obligation to History as incorporated in the Presidential Records Act. Essentially the point of that act is that documents and all else are not the property of the former President or his appointees or VP, they are the real property of the American People in the custody of the National Archives. It came in the wake of Watergate when it was apparent to some that Nixon wanted to edit or destroy his tapes (made at taxpayer expense) and his paper records to conform with his view of himself. Congress said strongly, NO. The Custodian is the Archivist, and there are rules for archiving all elements of Presidential decisions and related documents.

Waxman has a great issue here, I only hope he knows how to deal with it. Problem is, not all that many Americans really comprehend history and what goes into writing it -- too many think History is about celebration of Heroes, or heroic acts, and they are very uncomfortable with detailed analysis. To do it right Waxman will need to both educate and force the Bushies to conform to the law and that ain't going to be easy.

But the winning hand, I think, is the matter of Historical Honesty which is achieved to some degree by access to critical materials after the fact, and then broad argument about the content of materials. Push it, shove it -- that is what is necessary right now.

I'd just like to say the typepad algorithm for declaring a comment possible comment-spam is lame. Sheesh! I spend time researching the EOs in this thread, come up with a new observation I haven't seen (searched and can't find) on the blog, and because I have more than some critical threshold of URL references in my post, I can't post.

Perhaps, some answers….

If you are still wondering how we got into this mess, we are in with whistleblowers piling up along the road in paralyzed suspended animation waiting for the break that will allow them to get their case into the light and addressed, read further….

How Dick Cheney Broke My Mind
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist
Tuesday 26 June 2007

I was absolutely savaged by an unexpected emotional detonation on Thursday. Every rough emotion I am capable of experiencing - anger, fear, sorrow, rage, bitterness, despair, loathing, astonishment, woe, regret, horror, fury - erupted within me at the same time that day. I spent hours in the aftermath trying to type an accurate description of what had happened to me and why, but I failed. For the first time in a long, long while, I was completely unable to write.
What could have been powerful enough to huff and puff and blow my house down? What manner of mind bomb could hurl me so far off kilter that I was incapable of explaining it on paper?
It was, of course, Dick Cheney.
The news story that started it all was just another report on Dick being Dick, doing his Dick thing the way Dick always does. If they ever hold a contest to decide which politician has the most appropriate first name, you should bet the farm, the barn, the house, the cow, every crop, every truck, and throw in all your shoes besides, on Dick winning in a walk. Dick would win in such a dominant fashion that the NBA Finals would appear competitive by comparison.
It was Dick, and he got me on Thursday but good. You've probably heard the news story by now, and maybe you reacted to it like I did.
The National Archives is basically the federal filing cabinet where all governmental paper records are stored and organized. The Archives is an invaluable repository of our governmental history. These documents are publicly available, and are a giant treasure trove for historians, biographers or anyone who loves to feel a bit of history between their fingers.
So the Archives people had asked Cheney's office for his papers, because it was time to do so, because doing so is the law, because those papers are the property of the people. We pay for their printing and we pay for their storage, and the return on our investment can be found in the History/Biography/Politics section of any bookstore in America.
Dick turned the National Archives down flat, and this is what destroyed me on Thursday. Not only did he turn them down, his office wrote - actually wrote on paper in a letter to the Archives - their amazing explanation for refusing to hand over the papers. If you've not heard this, brace yourself.
Dick had the fire-breathing gall, the awe-inspiring temerity, the light-bending arrogance to put forth the argument - which was actually written down - that the office of The vice president of the United States is not actually part of the executive branch of the federal government, and is therefore not required to give any papers to anyone, ever.
Breathe. Breathe. It'll pass.
I could use a thousand words to describe what this thing did as it ripped through me. I tried all Thursday to do it, and failed time and again. I have finally fixed upon the one word that truly explains how I felt once the shock had passed.
I was offended.
These people offend me on a daily basis, but for some reason, this was too much. The vice president of the United States actually defended his insane lust for secrecy by claiming, with his bare face hanging out, that the OVP is not a part of the executive branch. Cheney is covered by executive privilege, and he is a member of the presidential cabinet, yet somehow his office is not part of the executive branch.
It offended me. It offended my patriotism, it was a rank insult to anyone who took grade-school civics, and it was pure horrid hubris-flecked power run amok, power so deranged that it is dangerous to every American. I have no context to place this in, but maybe context isn't required. Lawyers use a Latin phrase, "Res ipsa loquitor," which means "The thing speaks for itself." That's pretty much exactly correct, as far as this mayhem is concerned.
Cheney's argument, by the way, is prima facie cause for his removal from office. Simply, his office exists in the first place because all presidents are mortal, and so require a waiting replacement should the need arise. It sounded on Thursday like Dick pretty much quit his constitutionally-mandated next-in-line post. If he's not doing that job anymore, he should go home.
This is a personal matter now.
Somehow, another news story about Cheney just being Cheney while doing his Cheney thing caused a tectonic shift. Encompassing the awesome, towering, astonishing, awful, brutal, sick, deadly thing that is alive within the man; a thing that once was mistaken for mere arrogance, was enough to get me thinking in Biblical terms. There are stories in the Book describing people confronted by the very face of God. They tend to have a common theme: The moment they actually see I Am Who I Am, they wind up getting clobbered for their trouble.
I saw the true face of Dick Cheney on Thursday, undistilled Cheney: The core essence and clearest example of what imperils us all. The monstrous things perfectly revealed by Cheney's actions left me writhing like Saul in the dust of that Damascus road. It was holy, in a weird way, because it brought about a profound experience that hurt even as it cleansed. I now know that a glimpse of evil can also be a holy and spiritual moment, if you make it through the aftermath. The difference, perhaps, is that anyone who sees God is blinded by the sight. I got a look at evil walking like a man, and I see so much now that I didn't see before.
I actually owe Cheney a bit of gratitude. I was worried that his actions, and the actions of his crew, had abused the fabric of my capacity for surprise beyond the limit, had worn down one of the better human emotions by just being Cheney. I was wrong. He proved I am still capable of awe.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation," is now available from PoliPointPress.

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