Thursday, February 16


Does Dick Cheney have, as he claimed yesterday, authority to declassify classified information?

Let's see.

Declassification authority is defined in Section 6.1(l) of E.O. 13292. It is granted 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."

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?

Political Cortex breaks it down.

4.1(c) Classified information shall remain under the control of the originating agency or its successor in function. An agency shall not disclose information originally classified by another agency without its authorization. An official or employee leaving agency service may not remove classified information from the agency's control.

It reads that "an agency" shall not disclose information without authorization. Does "an agency" include the Vice-President of the United States? Yep. In the definitional section of the order:

(i) "Agency" means any "Executive agency," as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105, and any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.

So,  if we accept that "entity" includes individual entities like the Vice-President, it looks like Cheney should have asked permission from the "originating agency" (the CIA) before authorizing Libby to leak.

But wait! There's more. Read the whole article.

Tags: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home