The Untouchable

That is one creative legal argument Vice President Cheney advances, arguing he does not have to comply with the order requiring members of the executive branch, the Bush administration, to account for the way they handle classified material.

Why? Because the vice president of the United States, under the Constitution, is president of the Senate and casts tie-breaking votes.

Since the Constitution also specifies that only Congress can determine how it operates, Cheney is not bound by the executive order.

In effect, he is claiming that he is eligible for both executive and legislative privilege. Hybrid privilege, as it were. 

Remember that the vice president has made his time in office a crusade against encroachments into executive power ... which would include oversight into wiretapping, torture, secret dealings with energy companies and other special interests, up to and including those who visit the Undisclosed Location.

Cheney and his posse have taken the tough-guy position that accountability is for sissies.

It's particularly fascinating that he chooses secrecy about how he handles secrecy by flouting the requirement that he file reports on how he handles classified material. An example of what might be covered could be disclosures about the identity of undercover CIA operatives. But that's just a random example, of course.

Nevertheless, the vice president and his attorneys may have broken new ground in his ongoing battle to uphold the "Cheney None of Your Damned Business Doctrine."

It is easy to pile on Cheney, because he makes it clear he will not be ruled by what others think, even most others. He apparently cares only how history rules. One can only hope it isn't the history of America's decline.

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