24 June 2007 at 4:30:56 PM
Joe on this blog commented the other day about how VP Cheney says he's not part of the Exeutive Branch, therefore, he, unlike every other person in the Executive branch, doesn't have to follow presidential orders. (In fact, he tried to disband the office that would do oversight of the RULES). I've read a number of commentaries on this that range from the sublime to the riidiculous, my favorites being on the order of either "If Cheney isn't part of the Executive branch, as this official White House website says he is, then let's kick him out" or "SINCE Cheney isn't part of the Executive branch and think he's a member of the Senate, he has to abide by Senate rules". (Crew even asked if Cheney is trying to form a 4th branch of government). My favorite haha is that Rahm Emanuel is going to put something forward next week to defund Cheney's office since, um, he's not part of the executive branch, right? heh. In either case, Cheney can't simply be this background shadowy person that apparently, we read about today, made major decisions FOR the president, who seems to have allowed himself to be a Rubber-STamper-For-Cheney-In-Chief. In fact, amazingly, the White House actually CONDONES Cheney's stance. (And let's add, for some very disturbing actions, including altering the Geneva Conventions and advocating torture.) And Alberto Gonzales, who would have to be the one enforcing THE LAW AND EXECUTIVE ORDERS, seems to have ignored enforcing government review of handling of classified documents re: Cheney. What the heck does Alberto Gonzales DO????
Every day I think that the Bush administration is most like a Mafia organization that believes itself to be above the law. And both Republicans and Democrats are complicit in helping them shaft the public as long as they don't impeach. I heard someone say recently on some teevee show, with an air of resignation, that our only solution is to vote in new people. NO IT's NOT. The founding fathers put in impeachment and conviction in case of situations like this. If violating the constitution the Bush administration swore to uphold it not a high crime and misdemeanor, then what the heck IS?
Crew's argument on Cheney and the Senate
In light of new revelations that Vice President Cheney is claiming that his office is not subject to an executive order governing the handling of classified information because as president of the Senate he has both legislative and executive duties, CREW asks if Vice President Cheney is attempting to create a fourth branch of the government?
Under his argument, if Mr. Cheney is not subject to executive branch security requirements, surely he must be subject to Senate rules.
To safeguard sensitive information, in 1987 the Senate created the Office of Senate Security, which is part of the Secretary of the Senate. The Security Office's standards, procedures and requirements are set out in the Senate Security Manual, which is binding on all employees of the Senate.
Cheney's argument that he is not part of the Executive branch
Vice President Dick Cheney's office has refused to comply with an executive order governing the handling of classified information for the past four years and recently tried to abolish the office that sought to enforce those rules, according to documents released by a congressional committee Thursday.
Since 2003, the vice president's staff has not cooperated with an office at the National Archives and Records Administration charged with making sure the executive branch protects classified information. Cheney aides have not filed reports on their possession of classified data and at one point blocked an inspection of their office. After the archives office pressed the matter, the documents say, Cheney's staff this year proposed eliminating it.
The dispute centers on a relatively obscure process but underscores a wider struggle waged in the last 6 1/2 years over Cheney's penchant for secrecy. Since becoming vice president, Cheney has fought attempts to peer into the inner workings of his office, shielding an array of information such as the industry executives who advised his energy task force, details about his privately funded travel and Secret Service logs showing who visits his official residence.
The aggressive efforts to protect the operations of his staff have usually pitted Cheney against lawmakers, interest groups or media organizations, sometimes going all the way to the Supreme Court. But the fight about classified information regulation indicates that the vice president has resisted oversight even by other parts of the Bush administration. Cheney's office argued that it is exempt from the rules in this case because it is not strictly an executive agency.
So, if Mr. Cheney is a member of the Senate, he must adhere to the following:
-- a requirement that any of his staff needing access to classified
information undergo a security clearance and complete written non-
-- physical security requirements, that the Security Office is empowered
to implement, including any necessary inspections;
-- investigations of suspected security violations by employees, such as
the security violation committed by Scooter Libby when he unlawfully
disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, then a covert CIA
In addition, Mr. Cheney and his staff would be subject to investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, which has the responsibility to investigate allegations of improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate, including violations of law and the rules and regulations of the Senate.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said Mr. Cheney's arguments raise new questions:
"Since there is no fourth branch of government to which Mr. Cheney could belong, by claiming the Office of the Vice President is within the legislative branch does Mr. Cheney agree that he is subject to Senate security procedures?"
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