“Protecting” President Cheney

The NYDN confirms that President Obama has agreed to Cheney’s request that his secret service protection be extended for another six months.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Secret Service protection has been extended for at least another six months, beginning Tuesday.

Breaking! Dick Cheney remains an imperious paranoid fuck!!

Actually, the more interesting news comes (unsurprisingly) at the end of the story.

I’m particularly interested in the narrative construction here. This story was written by James Gordon Meeks, NYDN’s intelligence reporter, and Thomas DeFrank, an associate of Cheney’s dating back to the Ford Administration. And here’s what the two of them report.

Cheney’s friends have said he has become more concerned about his privacy and personal safety in recent years.

Like all "protectees," Cheney can petition the government for additional extensions of Secret Service protection, and several sources close to Cheney predicted he will do so once this new extension lapses.

Normally, the "threat level" diminishes dramatically after Presidents and vice presidents step down. In the post-9/11 world, that may no longer be the case.

Since 1997, former Presidents have been limited to 10 years of government protection. Bill Clinton – and wife Hillary – is the last ex-President entitled to a lifetime taxpayer-funded security cocoon.

Cheney’s friends say their paranoid friend as been more concerned "about his privacy and personal safety in recent years." If the timing here is accurate, the change has less to do with 9/11 (which is not all that recent anymore) and more to do with being an incredibly unpopular thug who shat on our Constitution. Given that the Secret Service agents protecting Cheney have arrested private citizens for what appears to be free speech (and have gone on to tell inconsistent stories about that arrest), I’d suggest Cheney really likes being protected–on the taxpayer dime–from hearing from taxpayers.

And, on the first day of his six month extension of taxpayer funded protection, Cheney’s friends say he plans to ask for further extensions (plural) once this six month extension lapses. Given how old Cheney is and how fragile his ticker, he’s basically asking for lifetime protection. 

Now look at those last two lines. Whose voice is suggesting that it "may no longer be the case" that the "threat level" goes down once a President or (!) Vice President leaves office? Because it makes no sense! Al Qaeda loves Dick Cheney–he took their bait hook, line, and sinker! It’s his former subjects who despise him.

Finally, note the unspoken assumptions of that last line. Former Presidents used to get lifetime protection. Cheney’s friends are, for all intents and purposes, announcing Cheney’s intent to ask for Secret Service protection indefinitely.  And with it, Cheney is once again demanding he–the unelected President–enjoy the power Presidents used to have.

  1. TarheelDem says:

    I actually don’t mind the Secret Service keeping tabs on Cheney. It makes him less of a flight risk if some legal consequences actually do appear on the horizon.

  2. SaltinWound says:

    We’re giving protection to someone who abuses it. Does this mean private plane traffic will continue to be diverted from his Maryland retreat?

  3. JimWhite says:

    The “privacy” bit stands out to me. I’d love it if he thinks he might be subject to the kind of spying on citizens that he put in place, but I’m struggling with how the Secret Service could protect him against that. Maybe he thinks he might be subject to an illegal “search and seizure” operation at his home or “office”. He wouldn’t want those torture video bootleg copies to fall into the wrong hands, now, would he?

  4. MadDog says:

    At first I thought you meant something related to my comment in your last post:

    Justice Department argues against releasing Cheney interview

    Though Papa Dick can afford to protect himself via all the tens of millions of Haliburton cash he “acquired”, private security forces just don’t cut it.

    They can’t arrest folks for no good reason, they can’t bust all the traffic laws with legal impunity, and they sure as hell can’t hide what they see and know in court like the Secret Service people can.

    I’m only surprised Papa Dick didn’t think of this before he left office, but perhaps he thinks he is still in office. Did Lynne or BabyDick forget to tell him?

    • emptywheel says:

      No, I made a separate post for that. Thanks for the link–I had even considerd attending this hearing. Sounds like it didn’t go well for the forces of secrecy.

    • Leen says:

      Proving once again that our Justice system is not even close to being just. Do they actually think that no one out here in the real world is noticing that these thugs operate outside of the law?

      Why do they wonder why the peasants have such bad attitudes towards our so called justice system. Pathetic message

      Talk about a trickle down message

  5. Mnemosyne says:

    I like the approach of laughing at the [expletive deleted] [expletive]. These guys dressed up as Barney to go to Cheney’s probably-Halliburton-and-thus-taypayer-funded rural estate to demand the royalties due to the purple guy because his “music” was used to torture [excuse me, ‘used in extreme interrogaation’] at Guantanamo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkqENek7fXs

    Personally, I hope he lives long enough to be put in the dock at The Hague, even if it does mean paying for a few more months of official muscle obstructing free speech.

  6. perris says:

    –he took their bait hook, line, and sinker

    took their bait, no, set up his own agenda off their bait, yes

    cheney WANTED unrest and fear, he has proven this time and again, he did it when ford took over for nixon, he did it under bush and he did it again

    fear and unrest are incredible for war profiteers and cheney loved their “bait”

  7. MaryCh says:

    MadDog, you’re too fast for me.

    I think Cheney may be that paranoid, but asserting his 4th-branch power as long as he can has got to a a frisson of j’whatever.

  8. Citizen92 says:

    There are a lot of crazies out there, so (and this pains me) but frankly I think he does need the protection. But for those who think it will be the Praetorian Guard he was used to, believe you me, the level of protection afforded a “former” versus an incumbent is WORLDS apart.

    Presumably, Obama’s decision to extend Mr. Cheney’s detail is threat-based, and not “a favor.”

    To the extent possible, I think the American public deserves to know what current ‘threats’ exist against the former Vice President to merit this expenditure.

    I also think the Obama administration should make public all correspondence with Cheney (or his people) where the request for continued protection is made.

    Although it’s not everything, such a disclosure is bound to stick in Mr. Secrecy’s craw.

    • Citizen92 says:

      Oh, and I wish they would give the “several sources close to former Vice President Cheney” thing a rest. I mean really, just say their names. There aren’t many… Lynne, Liz, Scooter Libby, and David Gribbin. Was that so hard?

    • Citizen92 says:

      You know what, I rescind those sentiments. Surely the ex-VP knows enough people “in the biz” who can keep him safe off the government’s dime.

      I know the USSS detail he’d be receiving would be significanly scaled back from what he had as VP. And most of the agents would be fresh out of training at Glynco and Beltsville.

      There has to be a bigger reason to keep the oar in. Probably because he would continue to receive regular “threat assessment” briefings from the government. Information he couldn’t receive if he were cut off.

    • MadDog says:

      There is truth to your point that Cheney is likely threatened. And I wouldn’t suggest that the highest threat is foreign compared to domestic.

      That said, I’d wager that Cheney feels far more threatened than he actually is.

      Yes, even paranoids have enemies, but remember they are still paranoids!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think you’re spot on there. Should he be foolish enough to travel abroad, Mr. Cheney has more to fear from official foreign government agents than from crackpots.

        Mr. Dick is afraid of everything. But his fears are no longer official policy, are they Mr. President?

  9. bobschacht says:

    PapaDick apparently wants freedom to stick his thumb in the taxpayer’s eyes indefinitely, without any fear of retribution.

    Meanwhile, the Boys of C-street are plotting a comeback.

    Bob in HI

  10. MaryCh says:

    Did our newest ex-Veep move close to the CIA (so I read on the ‘tubes) at least in part so he’d be within the umbrella of protected airspace? That, along with the secret underground tunnel he had built so he go and visit the buddies he made in his 2002 visits, would be reason enough to want to stay close.

    • Leen says:

      Hell they were taking direct orders from the former V.P. Might as well move close to the agency that he controlled

    • emptywheel says:

      As I understand it he moved there to get a cut rate property assessment so he wouldn’t have to pay his share of taxes. There are a bunch of tax scoflaws in the neighborhood.

  11. Arbusto says:

    I wonder if hidden in the SS filing, they consider travel a high exposure, and due to a 24/7 team of stalwarts, we pick up the tab for charter or military aircraft and hardened limos for him to cavort in, or just first class air travel all around?

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Will Mr. Cheney’s guards be authorized to keep him from being rendered, I mean, from being publicly arrested for war crimes, with all regard for due process, when he travels abroad? Are these really standard issue (and dedicated and trained) SS agents or does Cheney get to pick from his old special ops crew that he ran out of the OVP?

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Correction. I read in the Federal Register that Dick’s SS detail, as from April 1, 2010, will become a hereditary right. Which means that Liz and her progeny will get it.

    Sounds reasonable to me. She is as likely to make us as afraid of her as she and her daddy are of us.

  14. alabama says:

    I don’t buy the idea that Cheney has even the least little bit of paranoia in his makeup. He’s a “wannabe”, and he lacks whatever to takes to become what he “wants to be”. President? He was kept on a short leash by 41, he whiled away the down-time writing a ridiculous novel, and when he tried to fire up a campaign for the Republican nomination in 1996, he couldn’t find anyone to support him. No fun at all. And then he gets the chance to “run things” under (or over?) 43, only to be sent to some kind of Siberia in the twilight years of the second term.

    So here he is, looking around for the afterglow that attends a successful career. He sees Clinton, he sees Gore, he sees Henry Kissinger, he sees Jimmy Carter (!). And what’s in store for Shooter? Well, no clouds of glory for this dude. And his vanity can’t take it…

    I regard the SS detail as his version of vanity plates on the Cadillac. He’s welcome to it, if only because it makes him look so small, which is in fact what he happens to be.

    Oh, but I forgot: there’s a daughter in the works who wants to avenge her dad’s humiliation!…. Hope springs eternal….

  15. Citizen92 says:

    The Cheneys owned that undeveloped parcel in Fairfax County, VA (near the CIA) for many years. They only started building in his last year in the White House.

    Fairfax County’s building permit site does show various permits applied for and granted for this house. I’m wondering if a set of plans is available to the public. (Upon application for construction, three copies of building plans must be provided to the county).

    Dick’s house is 14,000 square feet. It apparently includes an elevator. If a man-size safe was part of the design, it would appear that County zoning does not require a special permit for such a feature.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    That “undeveloped parcel” was a single (luxury) home, brownfield site in a populated, well-developed Northern Virginia suburb. It isn’t just a tee shot from the CIA’s front gate. It is five minutes by helo or fifteen by armored limo to the White House. Ten minutes by helo to Arlington National Cemetery, which he never visited in an official capacity for the burial of any service personnel killed in the wars he started.

    Fourteen thousand feet is pretty substantial, even for multi-million dollar No. Virginia estates. About twice the average size. I assume his abode has either a sizeable basement or an extended crawl space.

    Mr. C also has a waterside home in St. Michaels, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, purchased on 2005 (and other property in Wyoming and perhaps Texas):

    St. Michaels has begun to lure V.I.P.’s who, some boosters would have it, could propel it into the gilded realm of the Hamptons and Nantucket. But that will take a while. There’s little for the young — just a few bars and no beaches or nightclubs — and these new householders are too circumspect and perhaps too old to be showcasing their excesses, baubles and abs.

    One is Vice President Dick Cheney, 65, who paid $2.67 million last September for a house that resembles a wide, squat Mount Vernon. Another is his old friend Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, 73, who in 2003 paid $1.5 million for a brick Georgian that was last a bed-and-breakfast. Among other recognizable owners in the area are Tony Snow, President Bush’s new press secretary; Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s presidential campaign manager in 2004; Nicholas Brady, President George H. W. Bush’s treasury secretary; and John S. D. Eisenhower, a writer and historian and the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    • esseff44 says:

      There was a report some time ago that the Maryland property was for sale since they have moved to Fairfax.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Thanks, I hadn’t seen that. He bought both properties at about the same time, well before his term of office ended, almost as a statement that he would never leave, even for vacation. Probably a good idea, since any foreign vacation he might want could well last a long, long time.

  17. Citizen92 says:

    Dick’s new digs:


    So much effort to block out public information. How many counties will withhold a property owner’s name from public records ‘by request?’ They even taped over the building permit address, located in the construction trailer which was several yards into the ‘area under video surveilence’ in the second series of photographs.

  18. freepatriot says:

    some people on this planet take revenge very seriously, and very personally

    I’m thinking that dead eye dick figured out that he is the symbol of the bushista banana republic torture regime

    if I was dead eye dick, I’d be worried about that too

    karma is a BITCH

  19. AinSeattle says:

    Say, I think you’ve created a new acronym here. I forwarded this article to a friend, who replied referring to Cheney as IPF.

    What do you think? Really rang a bell for me.

    Read more often than I comment, sure I’m not the only one, thanks for the work and insightful sleuthing.

  20. AlanDownunder says:

    The US abounds with establishments that could keep him safe 24/7 for the term of his once-natural life.