There have been numerous rumours over the past several months that vice-President Dick Cheney would be out of office in the near future. Some went on pure speculation, while others waged their bets on an accumulation of events surrounding Cheney.
It is time to look at this possiblity again. Not going through the previous reasons (ie. shooting a man in the face), but focusing on the news over the past 24 hours.
First off we find out that Cheney was a big push for domestic spying in the country:
In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials.
But N.S.A. lawyers, trained in the agency’s strict rules against domestic spying and reluctant to approve any eavesdropping without warrants, insisted that it should be limited to communications into and out of the country, said the officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss the debate inside the Bush administration late in 2001.
The N.S.A.’s position ultimately prevailed. But just how Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the agency at the time, designed the program, persuaded wary N.S.A. officers to accept it and sold the White House on its limits is not yet fully clear.
This comes as no shock. Cheney has always been a big opponent of a more powerful Presidency. He envisions that the President should share the same power as a king or dictator and views things like balance of power or right of citizens as a nuisance.
Now while the NSA story has been the front pager of the past week, we still have the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation going on. Now we have a new revelation in that investigation that brings Cheney back to center stage:
The role of Vice President Dick Cheney in the criminal case stemming from the outing of White House critic Joseph Wilson’s CIA wife is likely to get fresh attention as a result of newly disclosed notes showing that Cheney personally asked whether Wilson had been sent by his wife on a “junket” to Africa.
Cheney’s notes, written on the margins of a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed column by former ambassador Joseph Wilson, were included as part of a filing Friday night by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the perjury and obstruction case against ex-Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
The notes, Fitzgerald said in his filing, show that Cheney and Libby were “acutely focused” on the Wilson column and on rebutting his criticisms of the White House’s handling of pre-Iraq war intelligence. In the column, which created a firestorm after its publication, Wilson wrote that he had been dispatched by the CIA without pay to Niger in February, 2002 to investigate an intelligence report that Iraq was seeking uranium from the African country for a nuclear bomb. Wilson said he was told Cheney had asked about the intelligence, but the White House subsequently ignored his findings debunking the Niger claims.
Remember – the President has the power to declassify information, not the vice-President. Going to war with Iraq was also a wet dream of Cheney’s for over a decade (since his former boss, the first President Bush pulled out before taking Baghdad), so it is no shock that he would do whatever was necessary to counter any obstacle that stood in his way – no matter how truthful that opposition was.
Then we had this little tidbit that I reported on yesterday:
Dick Cheney decided to take another nap (he just did the same thing three weeks ago) while Bush is in the middle of a meeting with former heads of state and other high ranking officials about Iraq. Let me say that again – While Bush is talking about the problems of the war that has claimed over 2,400 American soldiers, Cheney was so bored he slept!
Now like I said at the beginning of this post, there are no real indications that the White House is preparing a move to rid themselves of Cheney. Just look back at what has transpired in 24 hours and getting rid of Cheney could become what the White House might view as a “viable option”. His sleeping could easily be used to justify a sudden departure; “His health is not that well”. That would be the most “diplomatic” excuse for it.
It would also give the White House a chance to revitalize its self and turn the bottom of the barrel approval ratings around (at least in their eyes). Bush could go ahead and bring Condi in as VP and lay his claim to being the “first President to have a female Vice President” with the bonus of her being black. This is the way Bush thinks (meaning Karl Rove thinks). Hey – he can use it to try and swing some black and women voters to the right this fall.
So this is a little heads up. I been thinking about this all day and every time I get online, I see something else that could be an indicator that Cheney might become the White House’s fall guy in the very near future.