Safire On Why ‘Anti-Privacy’ Applies to Cheney’s Energy Task Force

Whatever his other peculiarities, William Safire has always been good on privacy — having been wiretapped himself by Nixon he understands how intrusive it is to have the government recording you. Today he shows he's good on anti-privacy too, that is the freedom of information: Behind Closed Doors. Of course, working in a profession which depends on access to public information may have helped inform this view.

The Bush administration's position in the Cheney energy task force case is maximalist. If there were a term beyond “extreme” I'd use it. Deciding in its favor would tilt the separation of powers much further towards the White House; deciding against it only preserves the status quo.

Note, however, the actual court of appeal decision is on a narrow ground of standing, not the merits, suggesting that this need not necessarily be anything more than another step in what's proving to be an effective delaying tactic. Alas, the dissent relies on a fire-breathing version of separation of powers which, were the Supreme Court to adopt it, would not only gut the Federal Advisory Committee Act, but would take us another step towards a Royalist model of government.

See also John Dean (yes, that John Dean), GAO's Final Energy Task Force Report Reveals that the Vice President Made A False Statement to Congress

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