Monday, July 27, 2009

Cheney's Lackwanna Blues and His Pal Scooter

Well, if you've been following the news recently-you would have seen that Dick Cheney was being discussed EVERYWHERE.

Recently it was revealed that back in 2002 then-Veep Cheney advocated sending U.S. troops to upstate New York to the town of Lackwanna near Buffalo to capture suspected terrorists. According to a law professor that spoke with The New York Times it would have been the first deployment of the military on U.S. soil since the Civil War. Cheney thought it was a matter of national security and used a memo in the Justice Dept sent shortly after Sept. 11 to justify his idea. Attorney General Ashcroft, along with FBI Director Robert Mueller and Condoleeza Rice all were against the idea. President Bush made the ultimate decision to instead send FBI agents to arrest the suspected terrorists. These terrorist suspects known as the "Lackwanna Six" were rumored to be connected to Al-Queda and they all later pleaded guilty to terrorism related charges as they actually did have connections to Al-Queda and were "aiding and abetting enemies of the United States". So for those of you who think Bush was Cheney's puppet back in the early days of "The War on Terror" you might not be as right as you think.

Furthermore, according to a recent article in TIME Magazine, at the end of the Bush Administration, Bush and Cheney were at each others throats over the pardoning of Scooter Libby. Just a reminder for everyone-Scooter Libby was Vice-President Cheneys Chief of Staff, and he was convicted for interfering and obstructing justice in the investigation on who outed undercover CIA spy Valerie Plame. Plame was exposed after her husband-former Ambassador Joseph Wilson made severe criticisms over intelligence reports before the war in Iraq. Libby never went to jail, and President Bush did commute his sentence-but he decided that he would NOT pardon Libby. According to TIME, this infuriated Cheney, and in the final days in their term-Cheney constantly asked the President to pardon Libby.

The TIME article says that at one point, Cheney even got in the president's face, as Cheney badgered Bush about it in a pretty relentless and almost bullying way.

"Cheney really got in the president's face," a family source told Time, which also interviewed dozens of (of course) anonymous White House insiders. "He just wouldn't give it up."

"These last hours represent a climactic chapter in the mysterious and mostly opaque relationship at the center of a tumultuous period in American history," the report says. "It reveals how one question - whether to grant a presidential pardon to a top vice-presidential aide - strained the bonds between Bush and his deputy and closest counselor."

After the article came out, Vice-President Cheney also came out-swinging- with this response
"Scooter Libby is an innocent man who was the victim of a severe miscarriage of justice. He was not the source of the leak of Valerie Plame's name. Former Deputy Secretary of State, Rich Armitage, leaked the name and hid that fact from most of his colleagues, including the President. Mr. Libby is an honorable man and a faithful public servant who served the President, the Vice President and the nation with distinction for many years. He deserved a presidential pardon."

Well, it seems that President Bush disagreed with you Mr. VP, and since he's "The Decider" he made the decision and Libby was not pardoned. Bush believed he was guilty and felt no need to pardon him. For the President, it would seem that commuting his sentence and making sure he was never in jail were as much as he felt comfortable doing. Perhaps he was worried about his legacy and overturning the Justice system? Whatever, but the whole incident shows, just like in the case with the "Lackwanna Six" that Bush was not simply Cheney's go-along boy. That when he disagreed with his Vice-President, he wasn't afraid to go his own way.

On "The Early Show Saturday Edition," TIME assistant Managing Editor Michael Duffy said that Libby was the "vice president's top aide, long-time adviser on both domestic and foreign policy, and he got in trouble with the law. What we find fascinating is ... that the vice president pressed President Bush three times for this pardon. And even after the president had decided it once, twice, and with some finality, it kept coming back up.

"That was an interesting insight - a window into this relationship that was really the most important in the last ten years in our country, and not very well-reported, a hard-to-read, transparent, opaque, kind of very difficult relationship to understand, and this is the really first time anyone climbed into their back-and-forth.

"I think everyone on both staffs, the vice president's staff and the president's, realized this was coming to a head in a potentially very volatile way," Duffy said. "Everyone was quite nervous about it; both sides took fairly hard positions. The president at one point told his own personal lawyer that, if he had to take a poll on whether to give Libby a pardon, it would be 100-1 against in his staff.

"And so, by the time the Bush White House is coming to a close in the final three or four days, it's really kind of both sides are at loggerheads with each other. And in the end, Bush would just have to give the news to the vice president himself."

Both these stories make me wonder what else they disagreed about-and what will be revealed in Cheney's still untitled book. Stay tuned here for more.

Oh, and in other VP news, former VP Dan Quayle was on "Huckabee" on FOX News over the weekend, discussing the Palin resignation, the economy, and dealing with the press and being selected as VP. He agreed that his selection had some parallels with Palin-but keep in mind that he had been in Congress longer than Palin had been governor when she was selected. He did give this quote on Palin:

“I thought she got a bum rap. I think she's a very talented politician. I think from what I know, she's done a good job in Alaska."

Well, now you're up to date on whats going on in VP news. Stay tuned here for more and Thanks for Reading!
Matt Saxe

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