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Ray
29 Jun 07,, 05:34
Cheney, others served with subpoenas by wiretapping investigators

Michael Roston
Published: Wednesday June 27, 2007

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The Senate Judiciary Committee has served Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials in the White House and Justice Department with subpoenas over President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping programs.

"Over the past 18 months, this Committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program," Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement released to RAW STORY. "All requests have been rebuffed. Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of Administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection."

The subpoenas were authorized last week by the Judiciary Committee by a 13-3 vote, and target "documents related to authorization and reauthorization of the program or programs; the legal analysis or opinions about the surveillance; orders, decisions, or opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) concerning the surveillance; agreements between the Executive Branch and telecommunications or other companies regarding liability for assisting with or participating in the surveillance; and documents concerning the shutting down of an investigation of the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) relating to the surveillance," according to the release.

In the subpoena letters, Leahy made particular reference to the Bush administration's attempts to roll back existing oversight of the domestic spying program conducted through the National Security Agency.

"This Committee’s inquiry into this warrantless electronic surveillance is essential to the performance of its constitutional legislative and oversight responsibilities," he wrote. "The Administration has asked Congress to make sweeping changes to FISA – a crucial national security authority over which the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction. It is impossible to make informed legislative decisions without understanding fully the Administration’s interpretation of FISA and the perceived flaws in that legislation that led the Administration to operate a program outside of its provisions for more than five years."

The letters were sent to the Justice Department, the Office of the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the National Security Council. The recipients of the subpoenas are called on to comply with the subpoenas by July 18.

The Raw Story | Cheney, others served with subpoenas by wiretapping investigators (http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Cheney_others_served_with_subpoenas_by_0627.html)

What exactly does this mean in real terms?

Does Cheney have to appear? If he doesn't?

What is the legal and political consequences of this subpoena on Cheney, the Republican Party and its effect on the US domestic scene as also on the forthcoming election of the President?

How is Cheney taken to be directly involved?

Ray
29 Jun 07,, 06:17
Legal expert: White House stonewalling may force Congress to charge president with criminal offenses

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday June 27, 2007

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Keith Olbermann announced on Wednesday's Countdown that the White House is refusing on grounds of executive privilege to honor Senate subpoenas and release documents relating to its warrantless wiretapping. In addition, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, David Addington, has sent a letter to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) saying Cheney's office will not comply with oversight by the National Archives because it is not "an agency."

Olbermann then turned to law professor Joanathan Turley, who agreed tentatively that the administration might move slowly enough to "run out the clock" on its time in office. "But there is one thing that might concern them about the court," Turley said, "and that is, you know, for many years, since we first found out about this program, some of us have said that this was a clearly criminal act that the president called for. ... If we're right, not only did he order that crime, but it would be, in fact, an impeachable offense."

"Both sides, both Democrats and Republicans, have avoided this sort of pig in the parlor," Turley continued. "They don't want to recognize that this president may have ordered criminal offenses. But they may now be on the road to do that, because the way Congress can get around the executive privilege in court is to say, we're investigating a potential crime."

Olbermann went on to joke that the attempt to pin down Cheney's real nature is starting to sound like a game of 20 Questions. Turley laughed and said, "The position adopted by Mr. Addington and Mr. Cheney, to put it bluntly, was absurd. ... In past administrations, if someone like Mr. Addington made such a moronic argument as this one, they would be out of a job the next week. ... I think that what it really shows is the lack of sort of adult supervision within the administration."

Olbermann probed further into why Cheney has given up claiming he is not part of the executive branch but is still not complying with the order. "Is this an attempt to stop what Congressman Emanuel talked about yesterday, cutting off the funding? Is it just more smokescreen?"

"This administration, I have to say, has a certain contempt for the law," said Turley. "They treat it like some of my criminal defendents used to treat it. ... They come up with any argument that might work. ... It's a sort of shocking development. ... But at the end of the day, they will lose, and they're making the situation worse."

The following video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast on June 27.

The Raw Story | Legal expert: White House stonewalling may force Congress to charge president with criminal offenses (http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Law_Scholar_Wiretap_subpoenas_may_open_0627.html)