Dick Cheney writes his own “get out of jail free” card

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I was initially puzzled by Dick Cheney’s latest claim of “inherent powers:” the heretofore unknown ability to declassify documents. I hope my cynicism may be excused, but I then realized that this provides a way to exonerate himself for Plamegate: he can declare that he willed Valerie Plame’s identity to become declassified, and she was no longer a covert agent. (This only holds true in Cheneyworld; the real world functions somewhat differently.)

The Washington Post has the transcript of toady Brit Hume’s interview with Cheney, and here’s the relevant excerpt:

Q Let me ask you another question. Is it your view that a Vice President has the authority to declassify information?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: There is an executive order to that effect.

Q There is.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q Have you done it?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I've certainly advocated declassification and participated in declassification decisions. The executive order --

Q You ever done it unilaterally?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't want to get into that. There is an executive order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously focuses first and foremost on the President, but also includes the Vice President.

Andrew Sullivan points to a Secrecy News post on the subject. He also previously commented that:

the circumstantial evidence seems pretty clear to me that the president gave the vice-president constitutional authority to smear Joseph Wilson. It also seems to me that this is a big deal.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 16, 2006 10:40 PM.

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