Dick Cheney is hiding his records from the American people.
The AP reported Sunday on a Sept. 20 verdict compelling Vice President Dick "So?" Cheney to abide by the Presidential Records Act "as is".
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected the grasp made by Cheney's attorney David Addington that the Presidential Records Act does not apply to the vice president - apparently because of the extra word "vice" in his title. Preserving all official correspondence, therefore is not necessary, the Cheney team argued, as Cheney is not a part of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, rather is "attached" to Congress, in order to preside over the Senate.
This audacious legal assertion "heightens the court's concern" that Cheney already destroyed records, according to the judge. The case was brought by watchdog group CREW against a number of agencies, fearing Cheney is guiltily covering his tracks.
Cheney's accusers stand firm that multiple White House scandals and questionable legal activities heighten suspicions that the White House will not hand over all records produced by Cheney and his office to the National Archives when the current Presidential term is over.
Saturday's ruling confirms Cheney cannot squirm out of compliance with the law, though reports have been widely published already of millions of "lost" emails and wiped-out hard drives, including several "Dog Ate My Homework" excuses issued by the White House during hearings relating to Plamegate, the DOJ firings, warrantless eavesdropping and fudging of pre-war intel. Other inquiries went back to the beginning - Cheney's closed-door Energy meetings and visits from Jack Abramoff, all never proven or disproven because the records "mysteriously" went missing.
Similarly, an ABC News report on rumors that the phone number at Cheney's Virginia mansion appeared on the call list of the DC Madam in 1994 was withdrawn without explanation or refutation. Those closely following the case of Jeanette Palfrey, found dead in a Florida tool shed last May have suggested Cheney, then CEO of Halliburton, was simply arranging prostitutes for government officials in the hopes of securing privatized contracts. Cheney could have cleared up the matter at anytime, but refused to comment before the story abruptly and inexplicably vanished.
Incredibly, the White House, including senior policy advisor Karl Rove who is himself wanted for questioning in multiple corruption investigations, has asserted no back-up copies of the official correspondence in question even exist, despite language in the PRA requiring the President to archive and protect all records for posterity.
Most ironically, records produced during periods in which the White House is accused of various crimes and violations could quickly vindicate Bush, Cheney and friends of wrongdoing were they released. Their suppression signals to analysts that they are likely burying evidence in a cover-up, itself a separate crime. Cheney's former Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby was tried and convicted for lying to investigators during Valerie Plame depositions, but quickly received a Presidential pardon.
This will be an issue to watch, following this ponderous, floundering attempt to convince a federal court the vice president is not part of the Executive branch. Senator Pat Leahy noted in August 2007 when the notion was first floated, "...even their own Web site - this morning, at least - says that the Executive Office — that the vice president is part of the Executive Office of the President.”