Friday :: Jun 22, 2007

Why Does Cheney Still Have Access To Secrets?

by Steve

AP photo

With the revelation over the last several days that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has argued that it is not bound by Executive Branch rules on the handling of classified information, and Cheney’s retaliation against the National Archives for requesting an accounting from him on the matter, there are many questions that the media and the Democratic leadership should pursue immediately.

If the OVP now argues that it is not bound by executive branch rules, then how can the OVP argue that it is covered by executive privilege?

If the OVP is not entirely an Executive Branch entity, does this not undermine its legal defense in the Cheney Energy Task Force case?

IF the OVP argues that it is not bound by executive branch rules governing the handling of classified information, then why hasn’t President Bush pulled the security clearances of Cheney and all his staff?

How can Congress and the American people have confidence that the Bush Administration is protecting our national security and our classified assets and secrets as long as the OVP exempts itself from protecting those secrets and those assets?

When do Jay Rockefeller and Silvestre Reyes take aggressive action to hold the White House accountable for not protecting national security information?

Where the hell have Jay Roberts and Peter Hoekstra been between 2003 and 2007 when the OVP flouted these rules?

If Cheney argues that he is really also a member of the Legislative Branch when it comes to classified information, then why doesn’t the House and Senate Intelligence committees have the same access to sensitive information and lack of accountability that the OVP does? Does this not undermine any administration claim that Congress cannot be trusted with classified information, and cripple their efforts to limit Congress’s access to sensitive information?

If Cheney was so quick to retaliate against the National Archives for questioning his assertion that he was exempt from accountability and review on his handling of classified information, does this not help Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame prove the allegations in their civil case against the Administration?

Why does the Director of National Intelligence still circulate classified information to the OVP if he has no independent assurance that such information is being protected and not misused?

By refusing to commit himself and his office to the protection of classified information and an accounting of that commitment, what is Dick Cheney trying to hide?

If George W. Bush is willing to let Dick Cheney and the OVP ignore the White House’s own rules on the handling of classified information, what else has George W. Bush allowed Mr. Cheney to do in violation of his own rules?

If Alberto Gonzales was White House Counsel at the time Dick Cheney and the OVP were allowed to ignore White House rules on the handling of classified information, doesn’t Alberto Gonzales have a conflict of interest now in deciding whether or not the OVP’s claimed exemption has merit? Shouldn’t Congress at a minimum demand a Special Prosecutor to investigate the matter given this conflict, and then push ahead to a federal court case when the White House refuses that request? Is it not obvious to Senator Rockefeller and Chairman Reyes that Mr. Gonzales is simply running the clock out on this matter until 2009 and will do nothing in the interim to resolve the matter?

Steve :: 9:28 AM :: Comments (32) :: Digg It!