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  •  Again, I am no expert on this, but (9+ / 0-)

    John Dean on Countdown tonight talked about this, and my take on this is that there has been an established "process" in place for this, since the 1940's, and that the process has been ammended many times. I interpreted what he said as meaning that there is a typical process by which the prez declassifies documents, but not a legally binding requirement. And while he said that Bush followed "no process", and did not even inform his CIA Director that he was declassifying the document (highly unusual), or anyone else for that matter, he did not say that this was illegal. Technically, Bush is senior officer to the CIA Director, so he was not required to get his permission to declassify. I'm not trying to disagree with you - I'm struggling to understand this point...Please someone who knows more about this, jump in...

    "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightening..." Frederick Douglass

    by WISCONSIDINK on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 07:05:31 PM PDT

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    •  no problem (6+ / 0-)

      I'm open to suggestions. Missed Countdown tonight. Doh!!! I'll have to catch the re-broadcast. John Dean is the one that got me started on all this in the first place. Isn't that just like a man....

      Thanks for the tip.

      Here's what I mean about Mr. Dean. The interview that Cheney gave to Hume after he shot a 78-year old man in the face touched on the President and the VP's powers to classify and declassify documents. Olberman interviewed Dean on 2.15.06 about this issue raised by Hume with the VP. Here's the exchange that really stuck in my mind

      OLBERMANN:  In the midst of all of this, as we said, as this has dominated everything since Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, anyway good news and bad news on the V.P. on the leak investigation.  The shooting incident has more or less pushed that off the top of the news charts, at least for the moment.

      But if Mr. Libby defends himself by saying my superiors authorized me to make the disclosures, even though his attorney says he‘s not going to do that, is that a missing link in taking the investigation into the vice president‘s office or would still more be required to make that big leap?

      DEAN:  It‘s interesting that Brit Hume did bring that in as the last question raised the—tried to get into it and Cheney wasn‘t going to go there and refused to enter into that area but did say in response to as question as to whether he had power to declassify that there was an executive order out.  This is very unusual.  I had written a couple of those executive orders in my days and while he immediately then turns to the fact and talks about the fact that the president and the vice president, as well, have the power to classify and doesn‘t come back to the declassification.

      I‘ve got to go back to the law books or the executive order books tonight to see what he is talking about because I‘m not familiar with anyone having unilateral power to declassify.(sarcasm)

      OLBERMANN:  That will be another element to this story.  We can come back to you on it when you have that research done.  John Dean, the author of “Worse than Watergate,” as always, great thanks to you and your star researcher, lovely and talented Mrs. Dean.

      DEAN:  Thank you.

      So I guess Mr. and Mrs. Dean have done a little more research. I'll make sure to watch tonight. Thanks again.

      God almighty, it's like you have to be a lawyer with 10 years experience just to follow politics these days.

      •  Well, you know I'd like to see the transcript of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mbair, nancelot, HoundDog

        tonight's show (I checked, it's not up on the website yet), because I'll admit that what Dean said was confusing; it almost seems like there is an "agreed upon" process for this, that like most presidents have followed (in some fashion), but surprise, suprise, this preznit does not. How binding are the executive orders? I think that's the question. If the preznit can write a rule and then break it, then... we're back to the question of doing things the "right" way, and doing things the "Bush" way... And you're right - you have to be a lawyer these days, because this administration keeps pushing the envelope of the law all the time, so we have to parse words and pick apart details. If only it were a simple matter of a sleazy little extra-marital affair, we could all go to bed and rest easy. sigh. :)

        "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightening..." Frederick Douglass

        by WISCONSIDINK on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 07:30:18 PM PDT

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        •  make sure you check it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joynow, WISCONSIDINK, HoundDog

          It usually pops up around 2-4 in the afternoon. Also bookmark it, they only keep the two last weeks or so on this page for all MSNBC transcripts. You might need that puppy in the future.

          Again, from what I've seen including the WaPo piece for tomorrow, it seems legal. That's what everyone is saying.

          I just question everything at this point. Also, classifying info is totally okay for the President and the VP to do on his own. Check the link for the WaPo piece on this thread. It seems to cut both ways too.

      •  The view from across the pond (8+ / 0-)

        Here is the Guardian's take on Executive Order 13292, to put things into perspective.

        On March 25, 2003, President Bush signed executive order 13292, a hitherto little-known document that grants the greatest expansion of the power of the vice-president in US history. It gives the vice-president the same ability to classify intelligence as the president. By controlling classification, the vice-president can control intelligence and, through that, foreign policy. Bush operates on the radical notion of the "unitary executive", that the presidency has inherent and limitless powers in his role as commander in chief, above the system of checks and balances. Never before has any president diminished and divided his power.

        The unprecedented executive order bears the hallmarks of Cheney's former counsel and current chief of staff, David Addington, the most powerful aide within the White House. Addington has been the closest assistant to Cheney through three decades. Inside the executive branch, Addington acts as Cheney's vicar, inspiring fear and obedience. Few documents of concern to the vice-president, even executive orders, reach the president without passing through Addington's hands.

        •  Well, there we have it. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nancelot, HoundDog

          And the point of all this is:

          By controlling classification, the vice-president can control intelligence and, through that, foreign policy

          "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightening..." Frederick Douglass

          by WISCONSIDINK on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 08:02:46 PM PDT

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        •  Note: a VIOLATION of the unitary executive (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote, ybruti, HoundDog, SherriG

          As the founding fathers intended.  "Unitary executive" means only the president has presidential powers - no multiple elected executives, like Revolutionary France or Republican Rome.  He can delegate to his appointees but not to another elected official.  Sometimes the nerve of these people drives me crazy.  They stomp all over the real unitary executive principle and at the same time use a fake "unitary executive" principle to stomp all over the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

          •  Yes, from the same article, comes this (5+ / 0-)

            The first US vice-president, John Adams, called his position "the most insignificant office ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived". When Cheney was defence secretary, he reprimanded Vice-President Dan Quayle for asserting power he did not possess by calling a meeting of the National Security Council when the elder President Bush was abroad.

            Since the coup d'etat of executive order 13292, the vice-presidency has been transformed. Perhaps, for a blinding moment, Cheney imagined he might classify his shooting party as top secret.

            (It was written by Sidney Blumenthal for the Guardian, which I guess technically isn't across the pond)

            It's a surprising paradox: the President that arrogates to himself the most power in American history divides a traditional presidential power in an unprecedented way.

        •  wait a minute (0+ / 0-)

          The president has the power to unilaterally classify any information. Period. Not arguing that.

          I'm talking about de-classification, big difference.

          As to your other comments, great info thanks. I think that when Addington gave Libby the go ahead he lied to him, but that's just my opinion.

      •  Hey, go take a look at Terre's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joynow, mbair, HoundDog

        diary about Rep. Waxman's letter to Bush... it specifically addresses the EO...

        "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightening..." Frederick Douglass

        by WISCONSIDINK on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 08:13:01 PM PDT

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