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Martin Garbus Headshot

Bring Back Spiro Agnew - Indict Cheney

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Spiro Agnew was just a relatively small-time stupid crook who resigned in disgrace. Compared to Cheney, he looks good.

After all, Agnew (I want to speak well of the dead) was not a leaker.

Richard Cheney is far worse. The money he has made, through his thirty years in and out of the government, his energy investments and other sources probably sets a record. Compared to him, Agnew was a piker.

But there is a more important question. Why is there not now a separate Grand Jury investigation of Cheney's release of false classified information to get us into the Iraq war and to justify Abu Ghraib, wrongful detentions and antiterror attacks, the extent of which we do not know and probably will never know. This investigation of Cheney is not within the scope of federal prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald investigating Plamegate.

The New York Times, we know, is under investigation for the NSA leak that caused no damage. Cheney's did cause damage.

It's hard to imagine a more serious leak than Cheney's. The last "leaker," Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971, was prosecuted to the hilt for releasing the classified information in the Pentagon Papers. He faced multiple life sentences for releasing information about how we got into the Vietnam War and the failure of our foreign policy.

It was history -- old stuff -- it was not used to get us into a war with an extraordinary cost in men, Iraqi women, men and children, money, as well as the loss of substantial civil liberties in this country. It was not used to justify a failed plan to kill people and to spread democracy.

Ellsberg released it openly. He defended the reason for its release. His unquestioned purpose was to avoid future wars. Ellsberg said it will save lives, not lose them. He said the First Amendment allowed him to publish it. Ellsberg stood ready to face severe criminal punishment and he did.

Cheney released it surreptitiously. He takes no responsibility for it. Not noted for his defense of constitutional rights, he utilizes the First Amendment's journalistic privilege, the same First Amendment rights he denies to millions of others.

His false information had awful results.

And this administration does nothing, nothing.

And the Democrats say nothing, nothing.