Three weeks ago it was revealed that for the past four years Dick Cheney's office has declared itself above the law by claiming it was not part of the executive branch, despite continuing to receive funding from the bill that funds the executive branch. Now letters out of Cheney's office indicate that it is to attempt to make an independent assertion of executive privilege, contradicting its previous statements and seemingly just making up the law as it goes along.
The implication was contained within a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in relation to an extension, which has been granted, to comply with a subpoena on documents related to the NSA domestic spying program.
As reported by Raw Story today:
So Cheney's office is maintaining that it is not part of the executive branch, yet now it is going to continue to invoke executive privilege. Which is it to be?
Cheney has come under fire previously for abusing executive privilege and it is now clear that his office considers it to be merely a tool to avoid oversight and accountability.
Furthermore, as Michael C. Dorf, Vice Dean and Professor of Law at Columbia University, has asserted:
The documents released three weeks ago by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform revealed that Cheney's office has not cooperated with an office at the National Archives and Records Administration which is responsible for overseeing the protection of classified material by the executive branch.
Clearly the reason Cheney's office continued to declare itself autonomous, also attempting to abolish agencies it is supposed to be accountable to, was the fact that a key component of the presidential order Cheney's office was defying included mandatory on-site inspections. At least one of those inspections would have come at a particularly delicate time — when Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and other aides were under criminal investigation for their suspected roles in leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Libby's trial has brought Cheney's role to center stage. According to evidence and testimony, Cheney selectively leaked and declassified intelligence information to bolster the administration's case for war and later to defend against charges that he had misrepresented prewar intelligence.
Even former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham has stated:
"It's hard to believe that the chief of staff to the vice president was acting as a rogue agent. What we have learned from the trial validates the suspicion that Libby was not just operating as a lone ranger. He was carrying out what the vice president wanted him to do, which was to besmirch Joe Wilson. I think Libby has been a conspirator in one of the most reprehensible and damaging breaches of American security in modern history."
Back in March a spokesman for the jury that convicted Libby told reporters immediately afterward that many felt sympathy for him and believed he was only the "fall guy."
Denis Collins said they believed that Vice President Cheney did "task him to talk to reporters" and out Valerie Plame as a CIA agent.
However this will all seemingly go down the memory hole. Libby will now skip jail and Cheney himself will face no recrimination, not even a cursory investigation.
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We have been reminded time and time again by the criminals in office that they consider themselves subject to no law or oversight.
Dick Cheney has previously declared both himself and President Bush unaccountable to Congress, stating last year that "vice president and president and constitutional officers don’t appear before the Congress.”
It is also now clear that Bush and Cheney have broken literally hundreds of laws because they see themselves as outside of their reach.
The Constitution assigns power to Congress to write the laws and asserts that the president has an obligation ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.
Bush and Cheney are vastly expanding Presidential power and creating provisions that set their offices up as dictatorial bodies. Two months ago new legislation was signed which declares that in the event of a "catastrophic event", the President can take total control over the government and the country, bypassing all other levels of government at the state, federal, local, territorial and tribal levels, and thus ensuring total unprecedented dictatorial power.
The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, which also places the Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of domestic "security", was signed on May 9th without the approval or oversight of Congress and seemingly supercedes the National Emergency Act which allows the president to declare a national emergency but also requires that Congress have the authority to "modify, rescind, or render dormant" such emergency authority if it believes the president has acted inappropriately.
It has now become chillingly clear that the President and the Vice President believe that they have absolute power over the Government of the United States and cannot be held accountable to anybody.
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