Vice President Dick Cheney (old guy…bad heart…shoots people in the face. That Dick Cheney) had no qualms about outing a CIA agent as a warning to her ex-ambassador husband.
On the other hand you are not allowed to know who works in his office.
Notoriously opaque, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) is very difficult for journalists to penetrate. But a Prospect investigation shows that the key to Cheneyâ€™s influence lies with the corps of hard-line acolytes he assembled in 2001. They serve not only as his eyes and ears, monitoring a federal bureaucracy that resists many of Cheneyâ€™s pet initiatives, but sometimes serve as his fists, too, when the man from Wyoming feels that the passive-aggressive bureaucrats need bullying. Like disciplined Bolsheviks slicing through a fractious opposition, Cheneyâ€™s team operates with a single-minded, ideological focus on the exercise of American military power, a belief in the untrammeled power of the presidency, and a fierce penchant for secrecy.
Devoid of well-known names and faces, the OVP was nearly invisible to the public until last fall. Thatâ€™s when â€œScooterâ€ Libby was indicted for lying to federal investigators in the Valerie Plame case, focusing the media spotlight on the vice presidentâ€™s chief of staff and top national security adviser, who resigned immediately. Aside from Libby, however, virtually none of Cheneyâ€™s current aides has endured any scrutiny. Outside the Washington cognoscenti, itâ€™s a safe bet that not one in a hundred Americans could name a single Cheney aide. Since 2001, the list has included David Addington, who replaced Libby; top national security advisers such as Eric Edelman and Victoria Nuland; radical-right Middle East specialists such as Hannah, William J. Luti, and David Wurmser; anti-China, geopolitical Asia hands like Stephen Yates and Samantha Ravich; an assortment of conservative apparatchiks and technocrats, often neoconservative-connected, including C. Dean McGrath, Aaron Friedberg, Karen Knutson, and Carol Kuntz; lobbyists and domestic policy gurus, such as Nancy Dorn, Jonathan Burks, Nina Shokraiil Rees, Cesar Conda, and Candida Wolf — and a host of communications directors, flacks, and spokespeople over the years, notably â€œCheneyâ€™s angelsâ€: Mary Matalin, Juleanna Glover Weiss, Jennifer Millerwise, Catherine Martin, and Lee Anne McBride.
It is the latter, especially Cheneyâ€™s press secretaries — he has run through seven of them — whose job is saying nothing, and saying it often. His press people seem shocked that a reporter would even ask for an interview with the staff. The blanket answer is no — nobody is available. Amazingly, the vice presidentâ€™s office flatly refuses to even disclose who works there, or what their titles are. â€œWe just donâ€™t give out that kind of information,â€ says Jennifer Mayfield, another of Cheneyâ€™s â€œangels.â€ She wonâ€™t say who is on staff, or what they do? No, she insists. â€œItâ€™s just not something we talk about.â€ The notoriously silent OVP staff rebuffs not just pesky reporters but even innocuous database researchers from companies like Carroll Publishing, which puts out the quarterly Federal Directory. â€œTheyâ€™re tight-lipped about the kind of information they put out,â€ says Albert Ruffin, senior editor at Carroll, who fumes that Cheneyâ€™s office doesnâ€™t bother returning his calls when heâ€™s updating the limited information he manages to collect.
Does anyone find this surprising?
(Link courtesy of Kevin Drum)