Rich, who makes sure to note that "last week The Washington Post ran a first-rate investigative series on the entire Cheney vice presidency," argues that, behind all the well-deserved ridicule and late-night TV jokes against Cheney, triggered by his argument that he's not part of the executive branch and therefore doesn't have to comply with its regulations, lies something far more sinister. On March 25, 2003, the White House published and signed an executive order which revised a Clinton era document on the handling of classified materials. With the Bush revision, "every provision that gave powers to the president over classified documents was amended to give the identical powers to the vice president."
Lyndon LaRouche has noted on numerous occasions that the President cannot legally delegate such powers to the Vice President, or anyone else.
Rich argues that Cheney then used these powers to run the whole Iraq war lies, cover-up, and targetting of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson.
"The new executive order that Mr. Bush signed on March 25 was ingenious. By giving Mr. Cheney the same classification powers he had, Mr. Bush gave his vice president a free hand to wield a clandestine weapon: he could use leaks to punish administration critics.
"That weapon would be employed less than four months later. Under Mr. Bush's direction, Mr. Cheney deputized Scooter Libby to leak highly selective and misleading portions of a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq to pet reporters as he tried to discredit Mr. Wilson."
Rich drives his point home against Cheney: "The larger scandal is to be found in what the vice president did legally under the executive order early on rather than in his more recent rejection of its oversight rules...You have to wonder what else was done behind the shield of an executive order signed just after the Ides of March four years ago."