Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bush Admin - The Most Secretive Govt Ever?

In its “Secrecy Report Card 2008,” released Sep. 9, the group concluded that the Bush administration “exercised unprecedented levels not only of restriction of access to information about federal government’s policies and decisions, but also of suppression of discussion of those policies and their underpinnings and sources.”

Lawsuit to Ask That Cheney's Papers Be Made Public
Their lawsuit contends that President Bush sought to improperly narrow the scope of the records law in a 2001 executive order that declares, in part, that the statute "applies to the executive records of the Vice President."

Scholars say "executive records" is a term that is not found in the original act, and that seemingly opens the door to withholding some documents on the grounds that they are "non-executive" records -- legislative records, for instance. It raised red flags because Cheney has frequently argued that his office is not part of the executive branch but rather is "attached" to the legislative branch by virtue of the vice president's role as president of the Senate.

So what I keep wondering is ... what happens if the White House passes to the Democrats? Unless everything the Bush Administration has done is legal and legitimate (and supposing Michigan wins the BCS championship game this year), the Bushies have a dilemma on the secret activities they've taken in the name of national security. Can they afford to let a Democratic President know everything they've done? Nothing in their history suggests that they believe they can tolerate exposure. Do they try to hide any illegal programs we might not have heard about yet?* When word leaks out , then they face a new dilemma: either the program was never essential to national security, or they sabotaged national security in order to protect their image.** Blundering into the second dilemma is the fool's choice, but the Bush/Cheny history strongly suggests they'll do exactly that.

* (Or, more likely, the full extent of programs we only know a little about)

** (The talk radio crowd, of course, will simply claim that Democrats are not real
Americans, cannot be a legitimate government, and so hiding national security matters from them is the only safe and honorable thing to do.)

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