House Report: Can't Assess Cheney Role in PlameGate; Stymied by Executive Privilege Claims

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released its report (pdf) on PlameGate today. The last two paragraphs tell the story:

The investigation sought to answer basic questions about this incident, including (1) how the Valerie Plame Wilson leak occurred, including whether there was a concerted effort to knowingly disclose classified information; (2) whether senior White House officials complied with requirements governing the handling of classified information; (3) whether the White House took appropriate steps to address an improper leak and sanction any individuals involved; and (4) what legislative or other actions are needed to ensure appropriate identification and handling of classified information by White House officials so that such leaks do not occur in the future.

The Committee has been unable to completely investigate these matters, in part, because of the President’s assertion of executive privilege over the report of the FBI interview of Vice President Cheney. This invocation of executive privilege was legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege. It prevented the Committee from learning the extent of the Vice President’s role in the disclosure of Ms. Wilson’s identity.


It also discusses executive privilege:

"At its core, the doctrine of executive privilege is intended to preserve the ability of the President to receive confidential advice from the President's closest advisors," the report says. "In the case of the FBI interview with the Vice President, there is no legal basis - or precedent - for asserting executive privilege in a situation like this. The Vice President had no reasonable expectation of confidentiality regarding the statements he made to Mr. Fitzgerald and the FBI agents."

The report also notes that Fitzgerald himself even said "there were no agreements, conditions, and understandings between the Office of Special Counsel or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and either the President or Vice President regarding the conduct and use of the interview or interviews."

It also says there is absolutely no precedent for holding recaps of presidential conversations given to third parties are covered by executive privilege, nor are communications between vice presidents and their staff about vice presidential decision-making.

ON January 20, these executive branch power abusers are history. Let's hope the American people are smart enough not to replace them with John McCain and Sarah Palin -- more of the same.

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  • Display: Sort:
    No accountability (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 03:26:41 PM EST
    I'm still disgusted that the Democrat's continually caved to the Bush Administration. This sets a very dangerous precedence for future administrations. I wish I had any faith in an Obama administration pursuing this but I think all of it will be swept under the rug.

    Damn. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lucky leftie on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 03:32:17 PM EST
    These crooks make Nixon look like a beginner, but they will never be held accountable.  Very disheartening.

    well cheney (none / 0) (#3)
    by sancho on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 03:40:20 PM EST
    in a sense began under nixon so it appears he's learned his lessons--call the system on its bluff and then get away with it. of course congress has changed much since then too.

    Darth Cheney (none / 0) (#4)
    by Fabian on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 03:42:53 PM EST
    and the Imperial Congress....

    He's like Voldemort (none / 0) (#10)
    by coigue on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 10:07:33 PM EST
    he just keeps coming back

    Nixon was a beginner. (none / 0) (#8)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 05:36:39 PM EST
    Most of the people in the Bush Administration were his students who learned to refine their approach so as not to get caught.

    Keep in mind that the only thing these people ever thought Nixon did wrong was to get caught.  The rest was to be worshipped and revered as far as they are concerned.


    Who says we don't have separation (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 03:45:15 PM EST
    of powers? <snk>

    They should have moved for impeachment (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by jerry on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 04:57:34 PM EST
    Near as I can tell,

    a) saying that the use of executive privilege was improper, and then
    b) doing nothing about it

    c) legalizes it in the future.

    Cheney should have been impeached -- the commission should have done anything, and failing that should resign.

    And just imagine (none / 0) (#9)
    by stevea66 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 08:11:51 PM EST
    that Sarah Palin would like to EXPAND the powers of the VP!  Jeez!

    Question:  Is there no recourse in this matter?  They just don't want to give up the info, so that's that?  It's never too late to impeach.  Bush and Cheney should live out the rest of their term in jail.