Monday, June 25, 2007

Cheney is the shadow president

The Washington Post documents a chilling accumulation of power in the hands of Vice President Dick Cheney. It looks to me like he has served for most of the Bush administration as a shadow president -- placing his own people in key posts throughout the executive branch of government and reaching out into Cabinet branches to enforce his personal will. Most of what he's doing has been hidden:
Across the board, the vice president's office goes to unusual lengths to avoid transparency. Cheney declines to disclose the names or even the size of his staff, generally releases no public calendar and ordered the Secret Service to destroy his visitor logs. His general counsel has asserted that "the vice presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch," and is therefore exempt from rules governing either. Cheney is refusing to observe an executive order on the handling of national security secrets, and he proposed to abolish a federal office that insisted on auditing his compliance.

In the usual business of interagency consultation, proposals and information flow into the vice president's office from around the government, but high-ranking White House officials said in interviews that almost nothing flows out. Close aides to Cheney describe a similar one-way valve inside the office, with information flowing up to the vice president but little or no reaction flowing down.

The Post aptly calls the series A Different Understanding with the President.

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