Cheney and Wiretaps: Not Much to the WaPo Story
The following headline from WaPo contains no surprise (at least to me): Official: Cheney Urged Wiretaps. However, based on what is actually in the story, there really is no startling revelation about Cheney’s involvement:
Vice President Cheney told Justice Department officials that he disagreed with their objections to a secret surveillance program during a high-level White House meeting in March 2004, a former senior Justice official told senators yesterday.
That’s not exactly a startling bit of news.
Now, the following is perhaps tacky or even evidence that the Veep can be a bit vindictive, but I can’t imagine that it is unusual in Washington (or, for that matter, in business):
Comey said that Cheney’s office later blocked the promotion of a senior Justice Department lawyer, Patrick Philbin, because of his role in raising concerns about the surveillance.
And, to be fair, within an organization one never know for sure why one’s colleague was promoted or not, but there is often a strong sense as to why one guy did or did get promoted, fired, etc. It is rare that a clear and public reason is given.
Note: I have been critical of the wiretap program and the overall way that the administration has dealt with/used the DoJ. However, while the headline seems dramatic, there really isn’t much substance to this report.
Now, there may be more in Comey’s responses to written questions from the Senate (the source of the above information), but if so, the WaPo report doesn’t reveal it.