Cheney and the Law

Attorney Bill Dyer (better known in blog circles as “Beldar”) provides an extensively-researched and footnoted answer to the question, “Does Cheney have a legal leg to stand on in contending that he and the OVP are not covered by the executive order on classified documents?”

His analysis on the legal front (short answer = Yes) is persuasive, which isn’t surprising since it buttresses my initial thoughts on the matter. Bill and I continue to disagree, though, the public policy question of whether the OVP should be subject to oversight on its handling of classified documents. (See my earlier posts here and here for more.)

The length of the piece, however, begs an old question: Why do they call briefs, briefs?

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Congress, Law and the Courts, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Why do they call briefs, briefs?

    Because when they fall down it’s embarrassing?

  2. vnjagvet says:

    The real reason is that no lawyer in his right mind wants to write a “long”.

  3. Beldar says:

    It’s a fair cop, guv. Guilty as charged, re inability to brief briefly.

    But thanks for the link! (And it’s good that you’ve warned your readers who might follow it.)

    As far as the policy arguments: I understand your arguments that both the OVP and the Executive Office of the President personnel ought to be subject to the scrutiny of this reporting (or the discipline that the scrutiny would in theory help encourage). I just don’t have a handle on the relative frequency of leaks or inadvertent disclosures from those folks as opposed to genuine Title 5 “agency” folks, nor any sense of how much of a burden compliance would impose on the relatively leaner, meaner cadres there at the top. I’m just not in a position to disagree with you on the policy issue, but rather, only to point out that rightly or wrongly, the POTUS and VPOTUS, as you concede, have differed with you.

    (Ironically, the order also requires the Director to gather data on each agency’s costs in complying, presumably to report the the POTUS so he can evaluate, on an on-going basis, whether its benefits justify those costs — and the Director’s also complaining that Cheney and the OVP won’t hand over that information either!)