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America's undisclosed vice president

Dick Cheney has been keeping secrets. Among other things, he can now hide the names of his visitors.

Dick Cheney, he of the undisclosed location, is at it again. He's keeping secrets.

You may recall that early in the Bush administration, the vice president refused to disclose which energy companies he had consulted on energy policy. He fought that issue up through the courts and won.

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Recently, we learned that Mr. Cheney sought to override the Justice Department's objections to a secret surveillance program. The vice president's office even blocked the promotion of a senior Justice Department official who had opposed the surveillance operation.

It turns out that Cheney and other White House officials attended a secret meeting in March 2004. They wanted Attorney General John Ashcroft, from his hospital bed, to approve the continuation of the possibly illegal surveillance program. To his credit, Ashcroft refused.

And we learned about another of Cheney's furtive ways this past week. The Secret Service recently ended the practice of keeping logs of visitors to the president and the vice president.

You can probably figure out who wanted to hide the names of his guests – Cheney, of course. You have to wonder who are these mysterious persons that he sees, whose identities must never be revealed.

And wait, there's more. In 2001, the White House tore up its long-standing policy of releasing presidential papers after 12 years.

The move came just in time to block the release of the Reagan papers. That was reportedly the work of Cheney, too.

Now that we have a secretary of Homeland Security, perhaps we also need a secretary of Secrecy, who would operate from an undisclosed location.

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Maybe the vice president should add that to his undisclosed duties, now that his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is no longer available.

Daniel Schorr is a senior news analyst at National Public Radio.


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