Cheney’s Office Declares Exemption from Secrecy Oversight
by Michelle Chen
*A correction was appended to this news article after initial publication.
Thickening the haze of secrecy surrounding the executive branch, the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney has declared itself exempt from a yearly requirement to report how it uses its power to classify secret information.
In its 2005 report to the president released last month, the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), a branch of the National Archives, provides a quantitative overview of hundreds of thousands of pages of classified and declassified documents. But the vice president’s input consists of a single footnote explaining that his office failed to meet its reporting requirements for the third year in a row.
Open-government advocates say Cheney’s refusal to divulge even basic information about classification activities reflects an alarming pattern of broadening executive privilege while narrowing public accountability.