THE PLANK JUNE 27, 2007
So now David Addington, Cheney's chief of staff, is trying to back away from the claim that the vice-president is somehow outside the executive branch. He does, however, say that the order governing the handling of classified material was only supposed to apply to executive-branch "agencies" and not the vice-president. Of course, he doesn't point to any specific language here, but hey, who needs specific language?
If anyone wants to get deep in the weeds, Jack Balkin has a lengthy explanation of why Addington's argument is preposterous. For the record, here's the relevant part of the order, as amended by Bush in 2003:
(b) "Agency" means any "Executive agency," as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105; any "Military department" as defined in 5 U.S.C. 102; and any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.
Let's see, would that include the vice-president's office or not? That's a tough one. Pretty much the only way to wiggle out of this one is to stick with the claim that Cheney isn't an "entity within the executive branch." Why's Addington being so coy?