The New York Times spends attention to notes Dick Cheney wrote back in 1975:
RETURNING to the White House after the Memorial Day weekend in 1975, the young aide Dick Cheney found himself handling a First Amendment showdown. The New York Times had published an article by Seymour M. Hersh about an espionage program, and the White House chief of staff, Donald H. Rumsfeld, was demanding action.
Out came the yellow legal pad, and in his distinctively neat, deliberate hand, Mr. Cheney laid out the â€œproblem,â€? â€œgoalsâ€? while addressing it, and â€œoptions.â€?…
Mr. Cheneyâ€™s notes, now in the Gerald R. Ford presidential library, collected and synthesized the views of lawyers, diplomats, spies and military officials, but his own views shine through…
Fast forward three decades and that same handwriting appears on a copy of the Op-Ed article in The Times that set in motion events that led to the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheneyâ€™s former chief of staff.
Kathryn S. Olmsted, history professor at the University of California commented that Dick Cheney “had the same idea for the past 30 years”…
“His philosophy is that the president and the vice president and the people around the president decide whatâ€™s secret and whatâ€™s not. They thought they had to aggressively go after the press and Congress to reclaim the powers the president lost in Watergate.”
Some of the goals Cheney listed:
1- To enforce the law which prohibits such disclosure
2- To discourage the NYT and other publications from similar action
3- To find + prosecute the individual in government who provided the information
4- To discourage others from leaking such information in the future
5- To demonstrate the dangers to national security which develop when investigations exceed the bounds of propriety
6- To create an environment in which the ongoing investigations of the intelligence community are conducted w/o [harming our intelligence capabilities]
Under alternatives Cheney wrote:
1- FBI investigation of NYT, Hersh +/or possible government sources
2- Grand Jury – seek immediate indictments of NYT + Hersh
3- Search warrant – to go after Hersh papers in his apt.
4- Discuss informally w/ NYT
5- Do nothing
It truly is – for me at least – fascinating to read these notes. The way Cheney dealt very systematically with this problem. In short, it provides a fascinating glance into how Cheney operates, and… what he thinks about certain matters. As Adam Liptak points out, Cheney isn’t exactly sympathetic towards the press… or to Congress and he is “insistent on the prerogatives of the executive branch and adamant about the importance of national security secrets.”
In short: he seems to favor – as everybody knows – an aggressive approach towards this kind of thing. Prosecuting, search warrants, etc. are steps Cheney was and is not afraid to take. As The Carpetbagger Report points out, “when it comes to his authoritarian impulses, heâ€™s entirely consistent.”
More at Laura Rozen’s War and Piece.