Friday, June 22, 2007

Waxman: Cheney's Office Says It's Not Covered By The Oversight Law It Wants To Abolish

CNN says
Vice President Dick Cheney's office refused to cooperate with an agency that oversees classified documents, then tried to abolish the office when it challenged the actions, House oversight committee Chairman Henry Waxman said.

The National Archives' Information Security Oversight Office is charged by presidential order with ensuring that classified information and documents are properly handled by executive branch agencies.

According to a letter from William Leonard, director of the oversight office, Cheney's office argued it did not meet the definition of an executive branch agency and therefore was exempt.

Leonard also wrote that Cheney's office suggested his agency be abolished under a revision of the presidential order now under consideration.
when the National Archives' office attempted to visit Cheney's team in 2004, it was prevented from doing so by Cheney's staff, Waxman wrote in the letter. The office had complied with the order in 2001 and 2002 but started refusing to do so in 2003.

In 2006, Leonard wrote to Cheney's chief of staff, David Addington, to contest the office's refusal to comply and was told that the vice president's office "does not believe it is included in the definition of 'agency' as set forth in the order," nor is it an "entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information," according to letters released Thursday by Waxman's committee.
So Waxman has taken a bold step:
"I question both the legality and wisdom of your actions," Waxman, D-California, wrote in a letter Thursday to Cheney.
I'm sure Big Dick is quakin' in his snakeskins. OMG -- a letter from Waxman! What do we do?

Why does this Vice President -- whose only official duty is to break a tie in the Senate -- get to decide whether or not any particular law applies to his own office?

Oh, right; I forgot. Because that is the way it is.