02/16/2006 08:31 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Cheney's Trial Balloon Already Popped?

If, as noted earlier, Cheney revealed a potential defense in Plamegate during his appearing on Fox, his alibi may already have holes. The always-excellent Secrecy News has already looked up the executive order to which Cheney referred. It gives the Vice President elevated classification authority. As for declassification, that authority is given to:

(1) the official who authorized the original classification...; (2) the originator's current successor in function; (3) a supervisory official of either; or (4) officials delegated declassification authority in writing by the agency head or the senior agency official."

As Secrecy News writes:

So the Vice President has authority to declassify anything that he himself classified. He also clearly has authority to declassify anything generated in the Office of the Vice President, which he supervises.

But is the Vice President, like the President, "a supervisory official" with respect to other executive branch agencies such as the CIA? Did the 2003 amendment to the executive order which elevated the Vice President's classification authority also grant him declassification authority comparable to the President's?

So declassification may not have even been in Cheney's baliwick. I guess that's another one for the White House hair-splitters to obfuscate. I'm sure the CIA, or what's left of it after Bush's ongoing purges, would disagree with Cheney's interpretation!