Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, June 22, 2009 8:18 pm

Insult to injury

It’s bad enough that the Obama Justice Department is echoing the Bush administration’s position that records of an FBI interview with then-Vice President Dick Cheney about the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity as an undercover CIA agent should remain private.

Yes, that’s bad enough.

But the Obama folks have gone the Bush folks one better: the Jon Stewart argument:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge said Thursday that he wants to look at notes from the FBI’s interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney during the investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA operative.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to review the documents followed arguments by Obama administration lawyers that sounded much like the reasons the Bush administration provided for keeping Cheney’s interview from the public.

Justice Department lawyers told the judge that future presidents and vice presidents may not cooperate with criminal investigations if they know what they say could become available to their political opponents and late-night comics who would ridicule them.

“If we become a fact-finder for political enemies, they aren’t going to cooperate,” Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Smith said during a 90-minute hearing. “I don’t want a future vice president to say, `I’m not going to cooperate with you because I don’t want to be fodder for ‘The Daily Show.'”

One, the Obama folks shouldn’t be taking this position at all. Two, if they’re going to take it, they at least ought to base the position on substantive factual or legal grounds. I don’t think any actually exist, but, c’mon, guys, at least make the effort. “Jon Stewart might make fun of me” just doesn’t cut it. (To say nothing of the fact that by the time someone has gotten to be vice president, Jon Stewart probably has already made fun of him/her.)

Pop quiz, kids: Jeffrey Smith’s argument shows:

a) the Obama Justice Department is stupid.
b) the Obama Justice Department thinks you are stupid.
c) both.

And relatedly, the Supreme Court today refused to hear Valerie Plame’s lawsuit against Cheney and other Bush-era officials over her outing.

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