Monday, June 25, 2007

Cheney Rules via Double Secret Probation

THe VP has made plain his office is above the laws of the Executive branch of government, the Lesiglsative branch, and that no voter, no elected official, no federal agency has any oversight of his daily duties. You can't know how many people he employs at his Federal Fiefdom, and that even keeping a record of who he meets with via his duties is too important to share and again, is not a part of an open government, subject to national security laws. To question such philosophy, his backers say, is a sign that you and all the public and congress is a sign of delusion.

From matters of national security to federal laws and more, the VP says he is subject to none of the checks and balances of American government. His goal now is to eliminate the federal office who maintains records on the business of government. His claim is that there exists no way to apply the checks and balances of the Constitution to his office.

Many have been writing on this claim:

The vice president is saying he doesn't have to follow the orders of the president," said Garrett Epps, a law professor at the University of Oregon. "That's a very interesting proposition."

Epps said the lines haven't been drawn that clearly: "The vice president spans, in some ways, the branches of government."

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino brushed off questions about what branch of the government the vice president resides in, saying she doesn't know enough about the issue.

Susan Low Bloch, a constitutional professor at Georgetown University Law Center, called Cheney's position a "novel claim."

She said that while most people think of vice presidents as executive officials, it's really "a bit of a hybrid" role.

As vice president, Cheney receives his paycheck from the U.S. Senate, which also pays the salaries of much of his staff. However, he also sits in the president's Cabinet meetings and has an office at the White House."

More here and here

Stealth is among Cheney's most effective tools. Man-size Mosler safes, used elsewhere in government for classified secrets, store the workaday business of the office of the vice president. Even talking points for reporters are sometimes stamped 'Treated As: Top Secret/SCI.' Experts in and out of government said Cheney's office appears to have invented that designation, which alludes to 'sensitive compartmented information,' the most closely guarded category of government secrets. By adding the words 'treated as,' they said, Cheney seeks to protect unclassified work as though its disclosure would cause 'exceptionally grave damage to national security.'

"Across the board, the vice president's office goes to unusual lengths to avoid transparency. Cheney declines to disclose the names or even the size of his staff, generally releases no public calendar and ordered the Secret Service to destroy his visitor logs. His general counsel has asserted that 'the vice presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch,' and is therefore exempt from rules governing either. Cheney is refusing to observe an executive order on the handling of national security secrets, and he proposed to abolish a federal office that insisted on auditing his compliance.

"In the usual business of interagency consultation, proposals and information flow into the vice president's office from around the government, but high-ranking White House officials said in interviews that almost nothing flows out."

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