Here's my summary of the latest on BushSpeak and CheneyWorld via today’s Los Angeles Times:
- Bush issued an executive order in March 2003, requiring all government agencies in the executive branch to submit to oversight.
- Cheney filed requisite oversight reports in 2001 and 2002; he stopped in 2003 and has steadfastly refused to comply since then.
- The Security Oversight Office of the National Archives and Records Administration has been rebuffed for four years in its attempt to inspect how Cheney’s office handles classified documents.
- On Friday, White House spokesman Tony Fratto declared that Bush never intended oversight to apply to his own office nor to Cheney’s.
- Why are we not surprised?
- (Quote from the Times): This executive order was issued by the president, and he knows what his intentions were,” Fratto said. “He is in compliance with his executive order.” Fratto conceded that the lengthy directive, technically an amendment to an existing executive order, did not specifically exempt the president’s or vice president’s offices. Instead, it refers to “agencies” as being subject to the requirements, which Fratto said did not include the two executive offices. “It does take a little bit of inference,” Fratto said.
- Inference? INFERENCE? Oh, lord help us.
- According to the Times, Chipper White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that Cheney’s office is exempt from the requirements because the president intended him to be.
Click and read, and then let's talk.
Okay. Let me see if I’ve got this straight.
Bush issued an executive order in 2003 that requires all government agencies in the executive branch to submit to oversight. The order does not specify that the prez and veep are exempted from oversight, which, we are now told, was his intention when he signed the order. We just need to take his word for that.
Furthermore, Cheney isn’t really part of the executive branch (more than 200 years of adherence to that pesky old Constitution notwithstanding). Ergo, he isn’t responsible to Bush (executive branch). He isn’t responsible to the Senate (legislative branch). And we already know that he and Bush own Gonzales and the DOJ (judicial branch). Thus Cheney is a thing unto itself. A carbuncle on the numb butt of the body politic.
- “If the president and the vice president don’t take their own rules seriously, who else should?” said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a nongovernmental research institute at George Washington University in Washington that lobbies for open government.
“If they get a blank check, it’s a recipe for disaster. I can’t think of a quicker way to break down the credibility of the entire security-classification system.”
Blanton noted that the White House had acknowledged that a substantial number of in-house e-mails had disappeared in recent years, at a time when investigators wanted to review them for possible evidence of inappropriate leaks of classified information.
“If there are all these great safeguards in place, then where are the e-mails?” Blanton asked.
And then this:
- Fratto said that the White House and Cheney’s office had a legal obligation to adhere to the executive order’s guidelines regarding the proper handling of classified documents, even if they didn’t have to submit to oversight by an outside agency.
Fabulous! Virtual self-oversight. What a stellar concept.
I’m gonna say it one more time. These people are messing with our Constitution, our human and civil rights, our individual and national safety and our minds.
See the empty table? Put impeachment back on it. Now!
(UPDATE Washington Post Chapter One of a four-part series on Cheney. Might there be life in the MSM after all?)