We’ve been laughing about this in threads, but I wanted to share the joke(s). Greg Sargent got the letter from the CIA telling the Archives that Dick Cheney can’t have his propaganda.

As you are aware, a request for Mandatory Declassification Review is governed by Executive Order 12958, as amended, which was signed and executed by the President on March 25, 2003. Under section 3.5.(a)(3) of that Executive Order, a document is excluded from Mandatory Declassification Review if that document contains information that is the subject of pending litigation. This provision ensures that the Mandatory Declassification Review process is not used to disrupt simultaneous litigation proceedings that are already pending. In researching the information in question, we have discovered that it is currently the subject of pending FOIA litigation (Bloche v. Department of Defense, Amnesty International v. Central Intelligence Agency). Therefore, the requested document, which contains this information, is excluded from Mandatory Declassification Review.

There are two reasons I’ve been laughing my ass off for the last few hours.

First, those FOIAs? The CIA says Dick can’t have his propaganda until two liberal entities–some experts in bioethics wanting more details on the use of doctors in torture, and Amnesty International and Center for Constitutional Rights looking for more information on extraordinary rendition and ghost detainees–resolve their demand for these documents. But guess what? Cheney’s propaganda documents aren’t the only things that would be responsive under FOIA! So would the IG report, particularly the parts that describe how the CIA’s own IG didn’t think torture was all that effective and those that discuss the use of psychologist-contractors to conduct torture. So for Dick to get his documents, he may have to wait for these do-gooder torture opponents get a whole load of proof of just how ineffective and unethical Cheney’s torture program was.

I just can’t wait to see Dick Cheney asking the Center for Constitutional Rights nicely to give him his little propaganda documents. 

And what’s better? That EO the CIA cites, saying it cannot turn over these documents? EO 12958, as amended? That amendment is EO 13292–an amendment Dick had Bush sign on March 25, 2003, just at the beginning of the Iraq War. It’s a special amendment in Dick’s little bureaucratic evil, because it’s the basis that Dick used to claim he could insta-declassify the identity of a CIA spy and have it leaked to Judy Miller! Not only that, it’s the same EO that Dick Cheney appealed to when he was claiming to be a Fourth Branch of government (before Addington helpfully explained he was more of a barnacle, really). 

This is an EO, you see, that Cheney and Addington have abused wildly. 

Only now it’s coming back to bite Cheney–and his little plan for propaganda–in the ass. CCR? Valerie Plame? I hope you’re enjoying the little bureaucratic hell Cheney created for himself as much as I am.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.