Another controversy where the Obama administration is walking in the footsteps of BushCo! I will say here that I'm no more optimistic that Hillary
July 3, 2009


Another controversy where the Obama administration is walking in the footsteps of BushCo!

I will say here that I'm no more optimistic that Hillary Clinton's response would have been any different. The nature of power is such that one can always find a strong enough argument for retaining it "just in case" once it's been exercised. But then again, Clinton wasn't the one who sold herself to us on the basis of a new transparent era, either:

A document filed in federal court this week by the Justice Department offers new evidence that former vice president Richard B. Cheney helped steer the Bush administration's public response to the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson's employment by the CIA and that he was at the center of many related administration deliberations.

The administration's discussion of Wilson's link to the CIA was meant to undermine criticism by her husband of administration allegations that Iraq attempted to acquire uranium, a matter that her husband had probed for the CIA, according to testimony presented in a 2007 trial.

A list of at least seven related conversations involving Cheney appears in a new court filing approved by Obama appointees at the Justice Department. In the filing, the officials argue that the substance of what Cheney told special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald in 2004 must remain secret.

No such agreement was reached between Fitzgerald and Cheney at the time of their chat, according to a 2008 Fitzgerald letter to lawmakers. But the Bush administration rejected requests by Congress and a nonprofit group for access to two FBI accounts of the conversation, saying the material was exempt from disclosure under subpoena or the Freedom of Information Act.

The Obama administration has since agreed that the material should not be disclosed. A Justice Department lawyer at one point last month argued that vice presidents and other White House officials will decline to be interviewed in the future if they know their remarks might "get on 'The Daily Show' " or be used as fodder for political enemies.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan expressed doubt about that argument. To counter Sullivan's skepticism, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said in a supporting affidavit to the new court filing that the department needs the ability to interview White House officials informally in future law enforcement investigations, and that if the Cheney interview summaries are made public, "there is an increased likelihood that such officials could feel reluctant to participate." Breuer served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton during the Whitewater probe.

The nonprofit group pushing for disclosure, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, responded yesterday with a statement that the Justice Department has subpoenaed such officials without difficulty in the past. "It is astonishing that a top Department of Justice political appointee is suggesting other high-level appointees are unlikely to cooperate with legitimate law enforcement investigations. What is wrong with this picture?" said Melanie Sloan, head of the group.

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