Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheney Spouts Off on Support for Torture, Executive Power, and Illegally Wiretapping Americans

Vice President Dick Cheney has been making several appearances in the corporate media as of late, giving interviews to ABC and FOX over the last few days, in which he has been quite frank about many aspects of the last eight years. For example, in these interviews Cheney has revealed:

1. That as a "general principle", any decisions the President makes during wartime are legal.

2. The interrogation of Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed, which included repeatedly waterboarding him, was approved through the Vice President's Office, that he does not regret that decision, and that he supports waterboarding as a tactic used by America.

3. That he himself told leading Democratic members of the Congress, in detail, about the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and that the Democrats agreed that this program should proceed and be kept secret.

These items are not necessarily ground-breaking or "new", but the open way in which Cheney confirms what many have been saying for years now is a clear indication that this Administration has operated and continues to operate under the notion that they are above the law. Support for a Nixonesque view of Executive power, support for torture, and support for illegally listening in on the phone conversations of Americans are not the result of some long investigative report or inquiry, rather this is the admission of the current Vice President during nationally televised interviews. Is it any clearer that this country needs to hold these officials within the Administration accountable and recommit itself to the rule of law? Cheney in his own words:

In regard to this last clip about the NSA wiretapping program, I think that Glenn Greenwald's entry over at Salon hits the nail on the head regarding the complicity of the Democrats in Congress in some of the illegal activity over the last eight years and just how far Washington has strayed from the basic principles of the law:

Either way, Cheney's general claim is as clear as it is incriminating. According to him, key Congressional Democrats were told about the illegal NSA spying program in detail, and they not only actively approved of it, but far beyond that, they insisted that no Congressional authorization should even be sought, based on what was always the patently inane claim that to discuss the fact that the administration was eavesdropping on our conversations without warrants (rather than with warrants, as the law required) would be to reveal our secrets -- "our playbook" -- to Al Qaeda. It is certainly true that Dick Cheney is not exactly the most scrupulously honest public servant around. In fact, he's almost certainly the opposite. Still, what he said yesterday was merely an expanded and more detailed version of what has previously been publicly reported and, to some degree, confirmed about the knowledge and support of Democratic
leaders for the NSA program.

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