"The Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, the Justice Department, and the National Security Council for documents related to President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program
Over the past 18 months, this Committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program,” Chairman Leahy wrote in letters accompanying the subpoenas to Bush Administration officials. “All requests have been rebuffed. Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of Administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection.”
So why not run the post I had planned to run -- seems timely as ever. And this story may just have legs after all, with some foot on the leg too, so it can kick awake the public to notice Cheney in Wonderland:
No law applies to him, he is the Unknown Entity, a cypher whose actions or inactions prompt the PR handlers inside Washington feign puzzlement about the myriad questions regarding Vice President Cheney to say things like "that's an interesting debate, but not one I can comment on."
Indeed, the Cheney Question might well be preceded by this phrase "You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into .... The Vice President Zone."
He says he is not bound by any law to inform anyone on how many people work in his offices, he does not have to follow the law regarding the handling of national secrets, or his meetings on policies he reviews and does not have to tell anyone who he includes in such meetings, his very location is typically secret, his political activity is beyond the scrutiny of any branch of government. He is the fourth (secret) branch of government.
Via Russ McBee, I noticed this exchange in a White House Press Briefing from Tuesday held by Tony Snow.:
It reads like a Washington version of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
On Iraq and the War:
"Q: The President had another VTC with [Iraq's] Maliki yesterday, right -- it seems more and more frequent; the administration is putting pressure on the Iraqi government. But can you tell us, any signs that they are making progress in any way?
Snow: We do know that they are obviously working toward oil law and distribution laws, and they've also talked about de-Baathification, but it's a parliamentary process and they'll have to make whatever --
Q That doesn't sound like any progress, Tony.
Snow: It may not, but on the other hand, it could.
At least some reporters at the briefing were trying to ask some pertinent questions. Especially about what function the VP plays in today's political world:
"Q Did the Vice President sign off on the decision made by the President last week with regard to --
MR. SNOW: As you know -- look, the President makes the decisions in the White House; the Vice President is an advisor. We also make a careful point, as we've said many times, to allow those deliberations to remain confidential.
Q But, originally, what they sent out was that he wasn't a part of the executive branch. Are they amending that now?
MR SNOW: Again, I'll refer that to the Vice President's office. What you're really talking about is trying to parse constitutionally --
Q I'm not; he is.
MR SNOW: Well, if you go back and, for instance, look at Article 2, there are no specified executive activities for the Vice President. The Vice President is the president of the Senate. It is a wonderful academic question and I'm just not going to go any further than we've gone to date. What I am trying to clarify --
Q Are you referring to there has been reported breaches being within the office of the Vice President or the White House?
MR SNOW: No, no, no. Again, the office of the Vice President is not covered by the executive order.
Q No, no, no, I'm sorry. You said there have been reported breaches --
MR SNOW: Within the government. But on the other hand, again, the Vice President and the President are not covered by the ISOO.
Q If there is a breach, who is reporting those --
MR SNOW: This is -- I don't know.
Q Does anybody know?
Q I mean, a separate White House security --
MR SNOW: This is something that the ISOO is responsible for overseeing. I'll try to get you the procedures on it.
Q But you get the question about oversight? If you say, yes, we're handling intelligence properly, but there's nobody that says, here's a breach, because there's nobody overseeing --**
MR SNOW: But the ISOO is overseeing -- what I'm being --
Q Not the President and the Vice President's office.
MR. SNOW: Well, that's -- yes, correct.
Q So, nobody's watching, basically.
MR SNOW: No, that's not what it's saying. That's not at all what it's saying.
Q Is this a White House security office who oversees --
MR SNOW: Again, you're trying to get in procedural stuff. I can't help you on it.
As clear as an unmuddied lake, yes.
Luckily, The Colbert Report explains the The New Fourth Branch of Government.
Another breakdown of the recent Msyterious V.P. keeps it short and to the point.