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Will Revelations About Dick Cheney's Secret Programs Spell His Downfall?

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Posted on July 14, 2009, Printed on July 14, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/141290/

Dick Cheney's accountability moment may finally be arriving.

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After years of pulling punches, Democrats in the Senate are throwing them at Cheney, following the revelation that the man who operated as something akin to a co-president during George Bush's first term ordered the CIA to withhold information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress.

There "absolutely" needs to be a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of Cheney's assault on the system of checks and balances outlined in the essential sections of the US Constitution, argued Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

"The executive branch of government cannot create programs like these programs and keep Congress in the dark. There is a requirement for disclosure," the chamber's number two Democrat said on ABC's This Week program. "(Any investigation) has to be done in an appropriate way so it doesn't jeopardize our national security, but to have a massive program that is concealed from the leaders in Congress is not only inappropriate; it could be illegal."

We have heard calls for investigations before.

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But the former vice president's disregard for the vagaries of constitutional governance seems to have returned to haunt him.

So serious are the charges against Cheney that Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who for too long worked too closely with the Bush-Cheney administration on so many issues, appears finally to be accepting that an inquiry is going to be required.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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