Solicit

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emptywheel
One last post on Clement. I wanted to call your attention to the way Clement pretends that the White House is protecting advice from outsiders that they solicited. Here's Clement's language justifying invoking privilege over communications between the White House and those outside of government. Naturally, in order for the President and his advisers to make an informed decision, presidential aides must sometimes solicit information from individuals outside the White House and

Congress Has a Legislative Need to Understand Bush's Intent

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emptywheel
Nope, I still haven't stopped obsessing over Clement's opinion on the subpoenas. As I pointed out yesterday, Clement makes one claim that I believe is false and probably disingenuous. He claims that Bush has a nondelegable power to appoint US Attorneys, inscribed in the Constitution. These confidentiality interests are particularly strongwhere, as here, the communications may implicate a "quintessential andnondelegable Presidential power," such as the authority to nominate orto remove U.S.

Timing

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emptywheel
This bears mentioning. Congress subpoenaed the White House for information on the USA Purge on June 13, just 15 days ago. Already, OLC has done its review, Paul Clement has written his opinion, and Fred Fielding has provided a response to Congress. 15 days. Bill Leonard, head of ISOO, wrote Alberto Gonzales on January 9 for an opinion on whether Cheney was indeed exempt from Bush's own Executive Order.

Back to the Eighteen Minute Gap

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emptywheel
I'm still obsessing about Paul Clement's opinion on whether Bush can assert executive privilege over documents relating to the US Attorney purge. Here's a little tidbit I find interesting. Clement is discussing the third chunk of things Congress requested. The final category of documents and testimony concerns communications between the Department of Justice and the White House concerning proposals to dismiss and replace U.S.

TSA versus Booz Allen

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emptywheel
I'd like to use some details from the WaPo's story on Booz Allen's no-bid contract this morning to put some things in perspective. The article cites the SSCI with a price tag for each contract employee: The average annual cost ofa contract employee is $250,000, almost twice that of a federalemployee, according to an estimate recently cited by the Senate SelectCommittee on Intelligence. I'm guessing that, since so many federal employees are unionized,

Fred's Fuck You and Clement's Conflict of Interest

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emptywheel
Congresswoman Sanchez is right. Fred Fielding's letter telling Congress to fuck off is not so much a legal notice, but a lecture. It spends two paragraphs saying "no," one paragraph spinning the White House as cooperative, and then seven paragraphs talking about the exalted tradition of executive privilege. More troubling, however, is what Fielding attaches:

Grossly Beyond the Scope

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emptywheel
The WaPo has a story today about how a $2 million DHS no-bid contract with Booz Allen awarded in May 2003 turned into $30 million by the end of 2004 and into a $48 million contract in June 2005 and into $73 million and finally $124 million. I'm going to return to the whole question of outsourcing after McCaffrey the MilleniaLab and I get back from our walk.

Shall

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emptywheel
Did I mention that it was thunderstorming something fierce here in SE Michigan? Yes, raining and pouring, too. This morning, when I read the famous Executive Order that Cheney claims to have exempted himself from, I noticed a key paragraph: The Attorney General, upon request by the head of an agency or the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, shall render an interpretation of this order with respect to any question arising

Subpoenas

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emptywheel
It has been kind of wrath of god-y over here for the last hour. Just as I heard that OVP, NSC, DOJ, and WH have been subpoenaed, a big (much needed) thunderstorm took out my Toobz. Let's hope the wrath of god thing continues for the bad guys, as this is the move that will either give Anthony Kennedy the opportunity to roll up our Constitution ...

The WaPo's Schizophrenia

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emptywheel
What a stark comparison. We've been treated to a four-day series unveiling the secrets of Cheney's power. And in the same week, Eric Boehlert takes on the WaPo's consistent attempt to belittle the Plame investigation, along with its absolute capitulation to the Libby Lobby. Meanwhile, searching through the Nexisnews database going back more than 40 months, I cannot find a single outsidecontributor who was invited by the newspaper to write a piece

It Depends on What the Definition of "Agency" Is

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emptywheel
I get the feeling that someone in the White House told OVP that their claim to be a Fourth Branch of government carried some serious risk to the White House. After all, if Cheney now claims he's not in the Executive Branch, then he's got to hand over the Energy Task Force documents, right? So now David Addington has revised his rationale, claiming that OVP is simply not an agency. "Dear Senator Kerry,"
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Not Quite the Energy Task Force

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emptywheel
I get the feeling today's installment of Cheney started out as a story about the Energy Task Force. It also tells the story of the Klamath fish kill and snowmobiles in Yellowstone. The big news, though, is Christine Todd Whitman's side of several issues, where Cheney blindly put business issues ahead of environmental requirements.

Judge Huvelle Was Not Amused

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emptywheel
I did some coverage of the cynical games Steve Griles played to try to get the 5 months prison time turned into a bunch of community service for his own fake non-profit. I suspected such games would not go over well with Judge Huvelle--who, after all, is the one who tacked 3 months on top of Bob Ney's plea agreement because of his violation of the trust of public service. So I'm

Does Brit Hume Think NSA Spying Only Happens to Bad Guys?

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emptywheel
The Family Jewels are online now, and page 27 confirms something that should have been obvious. Under the Celotex II program, Brit Hume came under CIA surveillance during the time he worked for Jack Anderson, who was often under surveillance. So who will be the first enterprising Fox guest to ask Hume whether he believes, along with all the wingnuts of the world, that only bad people come under illegal government surveillance? Or

Henry Gets Impatient

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emptywheel
Here's the best part of Waxman's latest letter to Fred Fielding. I respectfully request that the interviews that the Committee has beenseeking be scheduled without further delay. If this cannot beaccomplished, I will recommend to the Committee the issuance ofsubpoenas at our next business meeting, which is currently scheduledfor June 28. [my emphasis] It's a nice touch.

Does the "Royalty Management Subcommittee" Sound Like Something We'd Find in Cheney's DOI?

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emptywheel
Because today, on the eve of the WaPo's revelations about Cheney's first-hand intervention in Department of Interior policies, such a Subcommittee met in secret (how else!!) for the first time. Who ever said these thugs don't have a sense of irony? The actual mandate is not--as it might seem, given the title--to fulfill Cheney's every need.

Some Questions

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emptywheel
Paul Kiel has an important post on vote caging that raises one big question for me. Kiel's post quotes the RNC spokesperson as connecting the vote caging activities in Florida with allegations about ACORN registration drives. In response to Palast’s story, the Republican spokeswoman denied ina statement that the list had been generated in order to challengevoters.

Well Then, We'll Take Away Executive Privilege for Everyone Else

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emptywheel
David Shuster (and to a lesser degree Chris Matthews) is the one person in the MSM who recognized Dick Cheney for what he was early on. Which is why Shuster's interview of Cheney-hack Ron Christie is so good. Shuster uses the Libby case to expose the problems with Cheney's method of working around other cabinet members and he smacks Christie down, just as I would have done, by pointing out that

The Liz Cheney Presidency

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emptywheel
desertwind was the first to point me to Sally Quinn's column on a GOP Plan to Oust Cheney. And like desertwind, my first thoughts when I read Quinn's prediction that Cheney would step down with heart trouble and Fred Thompson would replace him--if Quinn is right, this is really an attempt to install another figurehead president controlled by someone named Cheney.
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Loonies and BRICs

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emptywheel
As most of you know, I live in SE Michigan, night clubs drive distance (if that's your thing) from Canada. I didn't go to my favorite Canadian ultimate tournament this year, so haven't been in Canada for a while. So I was pretty darn shocked to hear this news: The Canadian dollar breached 94 U.S.
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