Indeed, this is a tale of two Dicks: Dick Nixon and Dick Cheney. And, indeed, as legendary baseball player Yogi Berra was fond of saying, "It's deja vu all over again." As portrayed in the recent movie about newsman David Frost's historic interviews with then-president Dick Nixon, when Frost asked Nixon if he, Nixon, had done anything wrong while in office, Nixon replied to the effect that what the president does is never wrong because it is done by the president. What bizarre reasoning, rooted not in the United States Constitution but rather in Nixon's megalomania.
Now, comes another megalomaniac, former vice president Dick Cheney, who played a major role in the outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, merely because her husband had made clear that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had not, in truth, acquired enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. Cheney now admits that he gave secret information to his chief of staff, Scooter Libby, so that Libby could leak that same data to several newspaper staffers. The publication of Ms. Plame's identity ended her usefulness — and career — at the CIA. Scooter Libby was prosecuted and sent to jail for his role in this mess — but Libby was only the messenger, it was former Vice President Dick Cheney who sent the message.
Recently, FBI documents detailed just what Cheney had told the special prosecutor looking into these violations of federal law. Cheney explained his belief that, since then-President Bush had authorized Cheney to declassify documents pretty much at will, whatever he shared with staff or the press was therefore automatically declassified. Indeed, it was the act of sharing secret information which made it no longer secret, according to Dick Cheney. These bizarre interpretations make a mockery of the very content and intent of classified information, and are mere flights of fancy from Cheney.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of this nation. By his stance and his actions in the Plame Affair--as in so many others, from endorsing torture of detainees to manipulating and inventing evidence to justify the War in Iraq--Dick Cheney has violated that oath of office, and has behaved like the war criminal that he is. Dick Nixon was brought to justice, was impeached, and then resigned the presidency in disgrace. Dick Cheney must also be brought to justice, the sooner the better — even though Dick Cheney may have no conscience, the rest of us Americans do.