His Royal CheneynessJune 21, 2007
There’s already a consensus that Dick Cheney is the most powerful VP in our nation’s history, and it’s no secret that he has a long history of being a proponent of almost unlimited power for the executive branch, but this is getting pretty surreal: Vice President Exempts His Office from the Requirements for Protecting Classified Information
The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch.”
As described in a letter from Chairman Waxman to the Vice President, the National Archives protested the Vice President’s position in letters written in June 2006 and August 2006. When these letters were ignored, the National Archives wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January 2007 to seek a resolution of the impasse. The Vice President’s staff responded by seeking to abolish the agency within the Archives that is responsible for implementing the President’s executive order.
For documentation purposes: Fact Sheet on the Vice President’s Efforts to Avoid Oversight and Accountability (pdf)
In my quest to figure out what that really means, I spotted a great post from Scholars:
Having the Vice President, and a Republican at that, responsible for egregious breaches in national security sets a very poor example. After all, if the Vice President’s office can be exempt from secrecy requirements, then other offices could be as well. How long will it be before the entire Justice Department uses the identical argument (its duties are split between the executive and judicial branches, after all) to exempt itself from annual ISOO oversight?And what are the sanctions for breaking this particular EO?
Is “What the hell is he hiding?” a fair question? Does it have anything to do with what happened to Scooter Libby?
If you’re not part of the legislative, judicial, or executive, I suppose that leaves some sort of position of royalty. How should we address thee?