Friday, May 26, 2006

Cheney Above the Law....again....


For the third year in a row the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney has
refused to disclose data on its classification and declassification
activity, in an apparent violation of an executive order issued by
President Bush.

"The Office of the Vice President (OVP), the President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), and the Homeland Security Council
(HSC) failed to report their data to ISOO this year," the Information
Security Oversight Office (ISOO) noted in its new 2005 Annual Report to
the President (at page 9, footnote 1).

The Office of the Vice President has declined to report such data since
2002. Yet it is clear that disclosure is not optional.

"Each agency that creates or handles classified information shall report
annually to the Director of ISOO statistics related to its security
classification program," according to ISOO Directive 1 (at section

This and other ISOO directives "shall be binding upon the agencies,"
President Bush wrote in Executive Order 13292 (section 5.1). And an
"agency" is not only a statutorily defined executive branch agency, but
also includes "any other entity within the executive branch that comes
into the possession of classified information."

Despite this straightforward language, a spokeswoman for Vice President
Cheney told the Chicago Tribune in April that his Office is "not under
any duty" to provide the required information.

On prior refusals by the Vice President to disclose classification and
declassification data, see "Cheney exempts his own office from
reporting on classified material" by Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, April
29, 2006:

Historically, the OVP has "not reported quantitatively significant
according to ISOO. So the Vice President's current defiance of
the executive order does not greatly distort the overall presentation
of classification activity.

But it signals an unhealthy contempt for presidential authority and
undermines the integrity of classification oversight.


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