DOJ: We Can't Release Cheney Records Because Of Late Night Comedy
Sarabeth at 1115.org has a piece up today explaining that the Obama administration's efforts to keep the goings-on of the Bush-Cheney White House away from scrutinizing eyes now extends to denying a federal judge notes from the FBI's interview with ex-Vice President Dick Cheney during the CIA leak investigation. But this pull from the original AP story, which captures the reasoning of Justice Department for attempting to deny the request, is simply mind-blowing:
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.'"
I hardly think that citing the need to shield public figures from satire as a justification for denying this request has got the public's interests properly balanced. But I also have a question for the DOJ: Uhm...have you met our last two vice presidents? Joe "OMGZ EVACUATE THE TRAINZ IT'S THE PIG FLU!" Biden and Dick "I thirst for a consomme of infant tears" Cheney? By comparison, I think future vice-presidents have a better than even shot at avoiding comic ridicule without the intervention of federal courts.