September 25, 2008

OVP Implicitly Claims Evidence of Illegal Activity Does Not Need To Be Retained

By testing - September 24, 2008, 1:20PM

Vice President Implicitly Admits To Not Fully Retaining All Legally Required Documents under Geneva, FISA

There's been some interesting give and take between the Vice President and Congress overs records retention. CREW attempted to review some documents, and OVP balked.The court essentially confirmed our suspicions: The OVP has parsed the legal language, as was done with Geneva, FISA and the Constitution, to justify hiding evidence of illegal activity. It will be interesting to compare the OVP records retention-compliance with the disclosures in the DoD emails.

Member of Congress Connection

Once Congress quickly moved on the financial issues this last week, Congress has a problem with Geneva:

The war crimes prosecutors could reasonably conclude Congress, in quickly responding to the US financial problems, showed the timeline it could work when faced with a significant legal problem. Members of Congress might be prosecuted for not similarly quickly moving on the Geneva violations.

Likely OVP Failure To Retain Evidence of Geneva Violations

The court noted the OVP view of their legal obligations was narrow, raising the prospect some documents have not been retained, as required:

Court: However, Defendants admit that they have interpreted the PRA in a narrow fashion and have only preserved documentary material in accordance with that narrow interpretation. As such, if Defendants’ interpretation is not correct as a matter of law, there is no question that documents that may be entitled to PRA protection will not receive the statute’s protections.During the negotiations, before the final court order, the OVP and plaintiff CREW attemted to arrive at an agreement. However, Of the court found OVP, in responding to the CREW proposals, parsed language to define their legal obligations and compliance:
Court: [T]he defendants’ declarations offer carefully parsed language establishing only that defendants are preserving two subsets of vice presidential records

These two subsets are:

Declaration: all the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the Vice President fall within either

(a) the category of functions of the Vice President specially assigned to the Vice President by the President in the discharge of executive duties and responsibilities, or

(b) the category of the functions of the Vice President as President of the Senate.

Implicitly, the President would not have expressly "delegated" to the OVP the task of covering up war crimes, illegal FISA violations, POW abuse. The Libby Grand Jury testimony re Plame shows that the agreements were wink-wink, and not (necessarily) expressly assigned.

The problem is the OVP has been linked, in the DoD emails, with activities that fall outside these two subsets. There is no adequate information to know which other OVP activities, other than illegal domestic propoganda and FISA violations during wartime, also fall outside these two subsets. The OVP has essentially claimed that anything that is outside these two subsets is not subject to any legal requirement, oversight, review, or document retention requirement. This is a circular arguing to claim that evidence of illegal activity -- extending outside the law, and unrelated to the two subsets -- cannot be subject to any legal retention requirement. They're saying the National Archives cannot have access to evidence of unlawful OVP activity, which -- by their definition -- would fall outside the two subsets.

No comments: