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Cheney claims he's not part of the executive branch

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/cheney-power-gr.html Cheney Power Grab: Says White House Rules Don t Apply to Him June 21, 2007 12:57 PM Justin
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2007
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      http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/cheney-power-gr.html

      Cheney Power Grab: Says White House Rules Don't Apply
      to Him

      June 21, 2007 12:57 PM

      Justin Rood Reports:

      Vice President Dick Cheney has asserted his office is
      not a part of the executive branch of the U.S.
      government, and therefore not bound by a presidential
      order governing the protection of classified
      information by government agencies, according to a new
      letter from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to Cheney.

      Bill Leonard, head of the government's Information
      Security Oversight Office (ISOO), told Waxman's staff
      that Cheney's office has refused to provide his staff
      with details regarding classified documents or submit
      to a routine inspection as required by presidential
      order, according to Waxman.

      In pointed letters released today by Waxman, ISOO's
      Leonard twice questioned Cheney's office on its
      assertion it was exempt from the rules. He received no
      reply, but the vice president later tried to get rid
      of Leonard's office entirely, according to Waxman.

      Leonard did not immediately respond to requests for
      comment.

      In a statement e-mailed to the Blotter on ABCNews.com,
      Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn said, "We are
      confident that we are conducting the office properly
      under the law.”

      As director of the tiny, 25-person Information
      Security Oversight Office, Leonard is responsible for
      keeping track of the nation's secrets and making sure
      they are properly protected.

      For the first two years of the George W. Bush
      administration, Cheney's office complied with a
      presidential order that requires officials to report
      statistics on the number of documents it classifies
      and declassifies.

      Since 2003, however, Cheney's office has refused to
      submit the data to ISOO. And when ISOO inspectors
      tried in 2004 to schedule a routine inspection of the
      vice president's offices, they were rebuffed, Waxman's
      letter claims.

      Other White House offices, including the National
      Security Council, did not object to similar
      inspections, according to Waxman.

      "Serious questions can be raised about both the
      legality and advisability of exempting your office
      from the rules that apply to all other executive
      branch officials," Waxman said in his letter to the
      vice president, and asked him to explain why he felt
      the rules didn't apply to him and his staff and how he
      was protecting classified information in his office.

      Former Cheney aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was
      recently convicted on several counts of perjury and
      obstruction of justice stemming from the leak of the
      identity of former covert CIA officer Valerie Plame,
      Waxman noted, and in 2006, former Cheney aide Leandro
      Aragoncillo pleaded guilty to sharing classified U.S.
      documents with foreign nationals. Aragoncillo also
      worked under former Democratic Vice President Al Gore,
      who complied with ISOO's requests.
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