Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Show-and-Tell for Cheney

The Vice President has never been a gushy kind of guy, but his innate modesty and shyness will have to give way to a court order today to preserve his records so the rest of us may eventually get some idea of how he was running the country in total privacy for the past eight years.

Responding to the suit of the watchdog group CREW, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly found that the VP's records are not excluded under the Presidential Records Act, which gives the national archivist custody of the material when Bush and Cheney leave office.

Their lawyers had sought a narrow interpretation to allow the VP to withhold as much as possible from National Archives, but the judge said no.

"Defendants were only willing to agree to a preservation order that tracked their narrowed interpretation of the PRA's statutory language," Kollar-Kotelly said in her order. This position "heightens the Court's concern" that some records would not be preserved without an injunction.

As we learned in the Valerie Plame case, pinning down what Cheney said and did is not easy, but today's judgment will go some distance toward helping historians breach Cheney's cone of silence as he helped lie us into a disastrous war, violated the civil rights of anyone who disagreed with him and pulled the strings of a puppet president.

A while back, when he deigned to give an interview, Cheney was asked about public disapproval of the Iraq war. His answer, with a shrug, was "So?"

Today's court decision is the first step toward getting more definitive answers than that.

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