Thursday, June 21, 2007

Office of the Vice President Denies that it is part of the Executive branch

It is simply amazing that so many people in the Bush Administration can be convicted of crimes, and the Office of the Vice President STILL pull stunts like the one that gets this response from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

The National Archives has informed the Committee that your office intervened to block the inspection. According to a letter that the National Archives sent to your staff in June 2006, you asserted that the Office of the Vice President is not an "entity within the executive branch" and hence is not subject to presidential executive orders

Or this:

In January 2007, the Information Security Oversight Office took the appropriate step under the executive order and asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resolve whether the President's order applies to your office. According to the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, you responded to this request by recommending that the executive order be amended to abolish the Information Security Oversight Office.


Or even this:

Mr. Leonard [(Director, Information Security Oversight Office)] also said that your office proposed a more drastic change after the National Archives continued to press the matter by seeking an opinion from the Attorney General. According to Mr. Leonard, your office urged the inter-agency committee considering revisions to the executive order to abolish the Information Security Oversight Office which he heads. Mr. Leonard said that your office also proposed a change to the definitions in the executive order that would exempt the Office of the Vice President from oversight.


Or these questions:

What is the basis for your view that the Office of the Vice President is not bound by Executive Order 12958?

Is it the official position of the Office of the Vice President that your office exists in neither the executive nor legislative branch of govemment?
a. If so, when and why did you adopt this view?
b. Has your office asserted in any other contexts that its nonexistence in the executive branch justifies avoiding oversight or accountability?


What happens to a government by the people, of the people, and for the people, when parts of it remove themselves from even the private and confidential oversight of the very same government of the people? Nothing good.

Here is the letter to the Office of the Vice President (PDF) detailing the whole issue.