Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Try us!

We can handle it! We don't really have to wait 10 years, do we?
President Barack Obama’s Justice Department is arguing that former Vice President Dick Cheney’s interview with prosecutors in the CIA leak case should remain secret for five to 10 years to persuade high-level government officials to cooperate in future investigations.

“In making public the Vice President’s interview, you will chill them,” Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Smith told Judge Emmet Sullivan during a two-hour hearing Tuesday on a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking release of records about the Cheney interview, which took place in 2004.

Sullivan sounded highly skeptical of the government’s arguments, but he said he had not decided how he would rule in the case “Where do I draw the line? This happened five years ago,” the judge said. “Would there be impediments to putting this information in a time capsule?”

As the hearing concluded, Sullivan said he thought Congress had drawn a “bright line” with language in the Freedom of Information Act that generally exempts information about pending investigations from disclosure, but not closed probes, like the CIA leak case. He also said he would stay any ruling so the government could appeal before he released any documents.

Smith said the Justice Department’s view was that a delay of five to ten years was appropriate, marked from the time the official or his or her administration left office. “It’s a judgment call,” Smith acknowledged.

Smith suggested that such a delay would make it more likely that the information was used for historical purposes and not for political embarrassment. “The distinction is between releasing it for historical view and releasing it into the political fray,” Smith said.

At a court session last month, Smith said the government feared the material could end up being used to mock Cheney on the “Daily Show.”
What's a little mockery between ah... um... acquaintances?

And does that have anything to do with this?
There appears no end in sight for when Dick Cheney, a rare former vice president with Secret Service protection, will lose his security detail. Whispers has learned that the political battler's Secret Service protection has been extended, though there were no details on the length. We don't know why President Obama OK'd the extension, which must be approved by the commander in chief because former veeps typically don't get any Secret Service security after leaving office. But indications are that the threats against Cheney, who's working on his biography at his homes in Virginia and Maryland, haven't lessened since his term expired.

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