Making fun of Cheney’s inability to keep a secret

This is miles from an economic post.

There are of course many reasons to hate Dick Cheney. I’ve never even worked with him, or been in college with him. For all I know he was a dick then, too.

But as the number of felony convictions resulting from Cheney’s office losing classified information comes to two, it’s fair to say that a Vice President who belongs, apparently, to his own branch of government, and has the worst record on protecting classified documents, is fair game.

The first-remembered, best-known, of course is Libby. Or Rove, or Cheney himself. Who knows, since Libby obstructed the investigation into a blown CIA cover, damaged WMD investigations the world over. Even the President’s father, a former President and former head of the CIA, considered the leak equivalent to treason.

The second is today’s sentencing, finally of old what-his-name, the spy:

White House Spy Sentenced to 10 Years

The former Marine at the center of the first case of espionage at the White House in modern history was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for stealing and passing on top secret documents.

He was recruited right at the end of his work under Al Gore, and spied in the office of Dick Cheney until he was finally busted in 2005. We can of course believe the Bush administration is just smarter than the Clinton administration, because it’s managed to catch these people. Right?

I prefer to side with Josh Marshall:

The Cheney OVP seems to have a serious issue safeguarding classified material — one so serious it has led to two felony convictions. So Bill Kristol may think it’s annoying to have government ‘bureaucrats’ checking on how classified material is being safeguarded. But the Cheney crew could really use the help.

Second, I think we see here a hint of a too-little noted pattern — the connected and mutually-reinforcing bonds of authoritarianism and incompetence. The Libby case (and the Plame case generally) is somewhat separate in that it was the intentional breaching of national security secrets. But is it a coincidence that the most paranoically secrecy obsessed office in the executive branch is the one that actually managed to have a spy working in its midst?

Tom tomorrow


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