As I reported, Judge Emmet Sullivan has issued his ruling in the Dick Cheney interview FOIA, ruling partly for and partly against CREW. Sullivan has ordered DOJ to turn over the documents in question by October 9. He has directed DOJ to redact the information exempted in two earlier filings. So, as I suggested, we’ll get some new information. But we won’t learn how Cheney answered when asked whether Bush authorized him to leak classified information (which ended up including Valerie Wilson’s identity).
Here’s some more detail on what the ruling means.
A Rebuke to Obama’s Executive Power Grab
While Judge Sullivan accepted all of Ralph DiMaio and David Barron’s specific exemptions based on national security or deliberative grounds, he rejected the laughable DOJ argument that releasing Cheney’s interview materials would dissuade other high level White House officials from cooperating in investigations. That’s important, because it rejects a theory that would shield a great deal of information on White House criminality. Here’s Sullivan’s description of everything that would be shielded under such a theory.
In this sense, the category of proceedings that DOJ asks this Court to conclude are “reasonably anticipated” could encompass any law enforcement investigation during which law enforcement might wish to interview senior White House officials. Such proceedings might include an investigation into alleged criminal activity that physically took place in the White House; financial wrongdoing by a White House official that took place before or during his or her tenure in the executive branch; misconduct relating to official responsibilities, such as the breach of national security protocol that formed the basis of the Plame investigation; or even an event occurring outside the White House with only tangential connection to one or more White House officials. Thus conceived, it becomes clear that the scope of the proceedings described by DOJ is breathtakingly broad.
I’m guessing, but unless the parts of Cheney’s interview Sullivan has ordered to be released are a lot more scandalous than I think they are, I don’t think Obama’s DOJ will appeal this because it’s unlikely the Appeals Court will agree with them, and as we’ve seen, Obama’s Administration tends to go to great lengths to avoid letting Appeals Courts issue rulings in relatively unimportant cases that reign in executive power.