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Separation of Powers

Agency Seeks DOJ Help in Cheney Dispute

Posted Jun 22, 2007 3:00 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Vice President Dick Cheney is claiming that his office is exempt from a presidential order regulating handling of national security information.

Cheney has claimed for the last four years that his office does not need to comply because is not fully a part of the Bush administration, the Los Angeles Times reports. Cheney maintains that his position as president of the Senate makes him part of the legislative branch although he also performs functions in the executive branch.

Documents released yesterday show that Cheney has used the claim to block inspections of his office. The National Archives says the dispute keeps it from checking security safeguards and is asking the Justice Department to intervene. DOJ has not responded, the newspaper says.

Gordon Silverstein, a constitutional scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, notes an irony. He says Cheney has asserted executive privilege at the same time he maintains he is not a part of the executive branch.

A Cheney spokeswoman confirmed Cheney’s position and said he is confident his office is being conducted properly under the law.

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