All of the usual suspects are out in full force as the Benghazi witch hunt tries to gather steam. Hysterically touting emails that turned out to not say what Republicans claimed they said, Republicans have nonetheless managed to ignore reality. And when they are ignoring reality, they bring former Vice President Dick Cheney out from hiding. Dick Cheney is a wanted war criminal. He has failed to testify about WMD, 9/11, Iraq, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, torture, US attorney firings, and much more.
The former Vice President met with House Republicans on Thursday morning in order to hiss his partisan poison into their willing ears. According to Fox News, Cheney appeared at a gathering where Boehner announced he was searching for a Benghazi email (that later turned out to not say what Boehner claimed it said), and raised the stakes by suggesting, “I think Hillary (Clinton) should be subpoenaed if necessary.”
Oh, yes, Dick. Great idea. Except, Dick Cheney has never believed that the executive branch is subject to congressional subpoenae, and Hillary Clinton’s job as Secretary of State falls under the purview of the executive branch. When Dick was the Defense Secretary and the Vice President, he dodged probes and regulations by claiming all kinds of crazy things, but he became best known for hiding under dubious “executive privilege” (by dubious, I mean at one time ruled unconstitutional by a judge W appointed).
Back in the good old days when the Press was asleep at the wheel, Dick Cheney argued that the Vice Presidency was not a part of the White House in order to exempt his office from any regulation of how he handled classified national security documents:
For the last four years, Vice President Dick Cheney has made the controversial claim that his office is not fully part of the Bush administration in order to exempt it from a presidential order regulating federal agencies’ handling of classified national security information, officials said Thursday.
Cheney has held that his office is not fully part of the executive branch of government despite the continued objections of the National Archives, which says his office’s failure to demonstrate that it has proper security safeguards in place could jeopardize the government’s top secrets.
Oh, the secrets couldn’t be jeopardized! But now, there can be NO secrets.
Long before he made “executive privilege” the motto of the Dubya administration and before he was arguing that the Vice President is not subject to regulations impacting the executive branch, Cheney was dodging his own congressional subpoena. In 1991, then Defense Secretary Cheney refused to obey a congressional subpoena:
Defense Secretary Dick Cheney has refused to obey a congressional subpoena demanding a key document that explains why he allowed contractors two years to repay $1.3 billion for work they did not complete on a canceled aircraft program.
The subpoenaed Feb. 4 memorandum from senior Pentagon officials to Cheney provided the analytical justification for allowing McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics up to two years to pay back money originally paid to them under a contract on the A-12 jet.
Cheney declined to provide the document to the congressional subcommittee because he said it would violate the doctrine of “executive privilege,” which exempts the White House from disclosing confidential communications.
The Huffington Post pointed out that the Bush administration avoided subpoenae in the scandal surrounding the firing of the U.S. Attorneys, “The Bush White House directed chief of staff Joshua Bolten, political director Karl Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor all to ignore subpoenas from Congress…. In 2008, a federal judge ruled that it was unconstitutional to do so. And at the end of President George W. Bush’s tenure, the White House instructed top officials not to cooperate with any future congressional inquiries into alleged administration misdeeds.”
Indeed, the Bush administration claimed that current and former White House aides and advisers were immune from Congressional subpoenae. If a Republican Defense Secretary, Vice President, aides and all political operatives (Karl Rove) are not subject to any disclosure and are exempt from congressional subpoenae, certainly the Secretary of State is as well.
Even though Hillary Clinton has already appeared before Congress attempting to help Republicans understand the documents they have had access to but seem to not grasp, Cheney wants her subpoenaed.
Dick Cheney, who does not believe a congressional subpoena can be applied to himself or a Republican executive branch, is now trying to use the congressional subpoena as a whipping tool with which to beat Hillary Clinton. Funny how the press never points out that officials from the Obama administration showed up for these witch hunt hearings, instead of hiding under executive privilege.
Congress has never investigated the lead up to the Iraq War. They have never assigned blame for it, but only gave a cursory look over to see what they could do better in the future. Cheney was in charge of security, but blew off the intel warning about 9/11. No one has ever gotten him on the stand to ask where that document went, who read it, why it wasn’t shared, who called it terrorism, etc. NADA.
Not only does this reveal that Republicans have two sets of standards, and thus their claims of concern over transparency are so cravenly ridiculous as to warrant a sick laugh, but it also shows just how desperate they are to abuse taxpayer money for yet another witch hunt.
WTF. Time for Senate Democrats to start an investigation of their own, since Cheney has a sudden affinity for subpoenae.