- Five decades ago this nation was undergoing one of the
most pivotal battles over rights and powers in our history. At the center
of this campaign was the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)
which was expanded on by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950's.
The topic was red-baiting, and the nation was spell-bound by the scope
of the 'investigations' which were little more than a sanctioned witch-hunt
for communists within the government and Hollywood.
- Richard Nixon was one of the committee's attorney's,
behind the scenes, while Ronald Reagan, as president of the Screen Actor's
Guild, was the Committee's man in Hollywood who played a major role in
selecting who ought to be questioned before the committee. Through their
'work' these two men went on to become future presidents of the United
States. The rein of Joe McCarthy finally came to an end, but not before
'Blacklisting' had become part of the public vernacular, just as 'censorship'
became publicly acceptable under 'certain circumstances. It was there
here that the specter of an increased executive power first began to gaze
upon an expanded role for the office of the presidency.
- Cheney's role began under Gerald R. Ford, when he and
Rumsfeld first made their places within government felt. Over the intervening
years there were many continuing challenges to the expanded power of the
presidency, most of which were turned back: until 911 changed the entire
nature of this arbitrary discussion. In between Newt Gingrich polarized
the congress and set up the mindset of what is still in effect today:
a government with an entrenched Congress that remains hostage, to the illusory
executive prerogatives, of dubious constitutional standing.
- Until George W. Bush took control under the fists of
Dick Cheney and the Crazies, no real threat of this presidential coup
was even remotely close to an actual takeover of this government. This
is where "Cheney's Law" entered into the record books and when
the United States ceased to be a Republic and became a Dictatorship of
one branch of the government-in effect the only branch of this government.
Because at the core of Cheney's Law is the belief that because of 911
the United States must now be 'a government of men not laws.'
- Many months before 911, the White House began to spy
on US citizens, illegally.
- "Now, as the White House appears ready to ignore
subpoenas in the investigations over wiretapping and U.S. attorney firings,
FRONTLINE examines the battle over the power of the presidency and Cheney's
way of looking at the Constitution. "The vice president believes that
Congress has very few powers to actually constrain the president and the
executive branch," former Justice Department attorney Marty Lederman
tells FRONTLINE. "He believes the president should have the final
word -- indeed the only word -- on all matters within the executive branch."
- After Sept. 11, Cheney and Addington were determined
to implement their vision -- in secret. The vice president and his counsel
found an ally in John Yoo, a lawyer at the Justice Department's extraordinarily
powerful Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). In concert with Addington, Yoo
wrote memoranda authorizing the president to act with unparalleled authority.
- "Through interviews with key administration figures,
Cheney's Law documents the bruising bureaucratic battles between a group
of conservative Justice Department lawyers and the Office of the Vice
President over the legal foundation for the most closely guarded programs
in the war on terror," says FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk. This
is Kirk's 10th documentary about the Bush administration's policies since
- In his most extensive television interview since leaving
the Justice Department, former Assistant Attorney General Jack L. Goldsmith
describes his initial days at the OLC in the fall of 2003 as he learned
about the government's most secret and controversial covert operations.
Goldsmith was shocked by the administration's secret assertion of unlimited
- "There were extravagant and unnecessary claims of
presidential power that were wildly overbroad to the tasks at hand,"
Goldsmith says. "I had a whole flurry of emotions. My first one was
disbelief that programs of this importance could be supported by legal
opinions that were this flawed. My second was the realization that I
would have a very, very hard time standing by these opinions if pressed.
My third was the sinking feeling, what was I going to do if I was pressed
about reaffirming these opinions?"
- As Goldsmith began to question his colleagues' claims
that the administration could ignore domestic laws and international
treaties, he began to clash with Cheney's office. According to Goldsmith,
Addington warned him, "If you rule that way, the blood of the 100,000
people who die in the next attack will be on your hands."
- Goldsmith's battles with Cheney culminated in a now-famous
hospital- room confrontation at Attorney General John Ashcroft's bedside.
Goldsmith watched as White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of
Staff Andy Card pleaded with Ashcroft to overrule the department's finding
that a domestic surveillance program was illegal. Ashcroft rebuffed the
White House, and as many as 30 department lawyers threatened to resign.
The president relented.
- But Goldsmith's victory was temporary, and Cheney's Law
continues the story after the hospital-room standoff. At the Justice
Department, White House Counsel Gonzales was named attorney general and
tasked with reasserting White House control. On Capitol Hill, Cheney lobbied
Congress for broad authorizations for the eavesdropping program and for
approval of the administration's system for trying suspected terrorists
by military tribunals.
- As the White House and Congress continue to face off
over executive privilege, the terrorist surveillance program, and the
firing of U.S. attorneys, FRONTLINE tells the story of what's formed the
views of the man behind what some view as the most ambitious project
to reshape the power of the president in American history." (1)
- Throughout this administration numerous clashes between
the congress and the president have been threatened, and subpoenas have
been used to obtain critically needed information yet the information
has not been provided, under threat of the possibility of Executive Privilege.
The public is still waiting for the congress and the courts to show some
backbone and demand the emails and the documents requested without further
delay. Yet from Washington there is only silence amid 'business as usual.'
- There is no more important business in this nation today
than to prosecute violations of law by the executive or by any other branch
of government, to the fullest extent of the law. As the video makes abundantly
clear, there are virtually thousands of instances where the president
has broken if not shattered the laws of this Republic, and still after
almost seven years, the congress is unwilling to do anything of substance
about any of these major crimes against the constitution and the people
of the United States.
- This coup has succeeded in full view of the American
public and the world. Congress must forego vacations and dedicate itself
to removing these criminal actions from the books, along with all those
who are responsible for having created this entirely 'other world' of
powers and practices that are utterly abhorrent to the nation and the
world, in addition to being illegal by any real study of the laws that
have been massively by-passed.
- "The last five years have seen a steady assault
on every fundamental of our Constitution . . . what the rest of the world
looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest
of the world-in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights,
individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress,
an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.
- There have been violations of these principles by many
presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the
way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon
Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.
- All these violations were impeachable had they been found
out at the time but in nearly every case the violations were not found
out until [the president was] out of office so we didn't have the exact
challenge that we have today.
- That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly
of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable. They weren't found
out in time. But I think it was not their intention, in the crisis situations
that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.
- It is increasingly clear with each new book and each
new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff
David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early
1970s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but [they] have believed in
executive government, single-branch government under an executive president-elected
or not-with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint."
- This has all been made very clear in the FRONTLINE video
~ so the "facts" involved herein are a matter of public record,
and have been for most of the nearly seven years of this administration.
- Cheney's Law must be revoked and silenced forever, along
with its author and chief architect that should stand trial for his crimes
along with the entire cadre of his henchmen in this attempted theft of
- 1) FRONTLINE: Cheney's Law video http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/cheney/view/
- 2) Pentagon Insider Has Dire Warning http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/pentagon_insider.html