Here's the deal. There's an Executive Order which demands that an "entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information" must follow certain procedures. The Vice President evidently asserts he's not part of the Executive Branch.
Does he take us for fools? Now, I realize he doesn't care what we think. Why, well, this is the first time since 1928 when a president or vice president wasn't seeking a party's nomination for president. Mr. Cheney knows that at the end of this term, he goes back to his private life.
Scott Shane in the New York Times reports that the Vice President
did not believe that the executive order applied to the vice president’s office because it had a legislative as well as an executive status in the Constitution.Huh?
Josh Meyer in the Los Angeles Times notes,
Some legal scholars and government secrecy experts noted the irony in Cheney's stance that his office is not fully part of the executive branch, given his claims of executive privilege when refusing to provide information requested by Congress.The irony did not escape me. It appears that the vice president wants it both ways and all ways.
If I was a cynic, I'd think the vice president is going beyond just trying to strengthen the Executive Branch and is actively hiding something.
Writes Peter Baker in the Washington Post:
The dispute centers on a relatively obscure process but underscores a wider struggle waged in the past 6 1/2 years over Cheney's penchant for secrecy. Since becoming vice president, he has fought attempts to peer into the inner workings of his office, shielding an array of information such as the names of industry executives who advised his energy task force, costs and other details about his travel, and Secret Service logs showing who visits his office or official residence.Clearly, the vice president believes he does not need to answer to anyone and he is not accountable for anything to anyone; he is a law unto himself.
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.
Stephen P. Pizzo in the Atlantic Free Press asks,
What's it take to get a guy impeached these days? I mean, less than ten years ago it was lying under oath in a civil case involving alleged sexual harassment. Since then someone has apparently raised the bar — to someplace in low-earth orbit.He's not talking about President Bush; he's talking about the VP.
Well, if the impending release of 35-year old CIA documents showing how loose & illegally the CIA played during the Vietnam era is any indicator, when I'm eighty, perhaps I'll learn what the new Tricky Dick is hiding.