One more example of how the concept of "rights" has no place in this White House.

Buried deep in a story about how Cheney amassed power as Vice President was the interesting tidbit that his office secretly eavesdropped on policy rivals in the White House.

From the WaPost:

It took three years for people on the National Security Council staff to learn that their e-mails and policy memos were bcc'd to the vice president's office. One of Rice's advisers discovered the secret arrangement after preparing a speech in which Bush would denounce the abuse of U.S.-held prisoners at Abu Ghraib and demand an explanation from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Cheney slipped the proposal to his old friend Rumsfeld, who mobilized a counterattack before the memo even found its way to Bush. Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy, called Hadley to complain, and the draft speech never reached the Oval Office. Nor was this type of intelligence-gathering limited to e-mails: Cheney's office sometimes used NSA transcripts to keep track of what policy rivals were saying overseas.

Since Abu Grahib scandal surfaced in 2004, Cheney was doing this since the beginning, when he took office in 2001.  

So we have a Vice President, according to this article, who got full copies of every email sent by Condoleeza Rice's office.  And, apparently, who would use the intelligence gathering apparatus of the National Security Agency to spy on his own political rivals.  

Many, many questions: is there any reason to believe that Cheney limited his email-spying to the NSC?  Why wouldn't he say, "and throw in the Departments of State, Energy, Treasury and Defense, too -- and the Office of Management and Budget", when ordering the emails to be sent to his office, with the sender and recipients unawares?  When requesting NSA transcripts of people in the White House, do you think he ever said "and make sure they aren't talking to members of Congress, because I wouldn't want to spy on what they are saying to another branch of government."  Do you think Cheney said "And don't give me any of their personal conversations, spouting off to their wives about how sick they are of the Administration?"

Of course not.  Cheney, it would seem, probably did all of these things, from the Vice Presidency.  

It's no wonder we now have the Country we have.   Could you imagine what our Country would be like if Sarah "Troopergate" Palin has this kind of power at her fingertips?  After getting even with that stuck up Marcie Steemer from 7th grade, and surprising her husband Todd with knowledge of what he got her for her Birthday, she'd probably add, "Yeah, toss members of congress on there, too -- just so we can keep an eye on them."

Update: The author of the article, Barton Gellman, is a Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post journalist, for a series of articles in June 2007 on the Cheney Vice Presidency.  He is also author of the book Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency.

Originally posted to rerutled on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 07:14 AM PDT.

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