Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, who chairs the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management, wrote Wednesday to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging him to determine whether Vice President Dick Cheney’s office is required to comply with government-wide regulations on handling classified information.
Since 2004, the Office of the Vice President has refused to submit to routine compliance audits of its handling of classified information, and now asserts it’s not bound by regulations on classified information security because it is not an “entity within the executive branch.”
Keep in mind this is an office in which two people have earned felony convictions in cases related to the mishandling of classified information: Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and aide Leandro Aragoncillo.
The National Archives’ Information Security Oversight Office, which ensures compliance with the regulations, asked the Attorney General in January to rule on whether the regulations apply to the Vice President’s office. So far, Gonzalez has not responded.
“Because the Office of the Vice President is deeply involved with classified programs, it is critical for the Attorney General to uphold the integrity of the system that safeguards classified information,” Eshoo said in a news release.
OK, let’s all wait for Gonzalez’ response: one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi…
All Bay Area House members except Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, were among 36 California and Oregon lawmakers who wrote yesterday to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.V., requesting a Congressional probe of Vice President Dick Cheney‘s role in the diversion of water from the Klamath River Basin. The diversion preceded the largest commercial salmon fishing disaster in U.S. history and devastated commercial and recreational fishing in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties in 2002.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Cheney had pressured mid-level bureaucrats in the Department of the Interior to divert water from the Klamath River Basin to benefit Republican political prospects among Oregon farmers.
“This smells as bad as 80,000 dead salmon,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, a House Energy and Commerce Committee member. “Those who depend on salmon for their livelihood, including many of my constituents, deserve to know exactly what the Vice President did to implement a water policy that circumvented the Endangered Species Act and devastated commercial, sport and tribal fishing in California and Oregon.”
The call comes even as the White House refuses to comply with Congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony relating to the firings of federal prosecutors last year, setting up a potential constitutional confrontation over its claim of executive privilege.
The 2002 salmon die-off still resonates; in 2006, low salmon eturns to the Klamath forced the closure of most Pacific Coast commercial and recreational salmon fishing, hurting fishermen at San Mateo County’s Pillar Point Harbor. Lawmakers pressed Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to declare a fishing disaster for the West Coast, and last month secured $60 million to help the industry recover.
Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, yesterday became the fifth and sixth co-sponsors of House Resolution 333 — articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney.
“While ending the occupation of Iraq remains my top priority, and I am clear about the political reality as it relates to this bill, I nonetheless believe that given Vice President Cheney’s role in misleading our nation into an unnecessary, aggressive invasion and occupation that it is appropriate for me to support this measure,” Lee said today.
The bill accuses Cheney of having “purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States: by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and lying about links between Iraq and al Qaeda “to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests.” He’s also accused of having “openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States.”
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, introduced the bill April 24. The other cosponsors are Yvette Clarke, D-NY; Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.; William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.; and Albert Wynn, D-Md.