Today, the Washington PostÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Angler series explores Vice President CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heavy hand in BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s domestic surveillance program. Documents giving Ã¢â‚¬Å“strategic direction to the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest spy agencyÃ¢â‚¬Â� were held not in the White House but in CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office. CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lawyer David Addington, who wrote the documents, kept White House Chief of Staff Andy Card in the dark:
It is unlikely that the history of U.S. intelligence includes another operation conceived and supervised by the office of the vice president. White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. had Ã¢â‚¬Å“no idea,Ã¢â‚¬Â� he said, that the presidential orders were held in a vice presidential safe. An authoritative source said the staff secretariat, which kept a comprehensive inventory of presidential papers, classified and unclassified, possessed no record of these.
Asked why Addington would write presidential directives, Card said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“David Addington is a very competent lawyer.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
In an interview, Card said the Executive Office of the President, a formal term that encompassed BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s staff but not CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, followed strict procedures for handling and securing presidential papers. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If there were exceptions to that, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not aware of them,Ã¢â‚¬Â� he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If these documents werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stored the right way or put in the right places or maintained by the right people, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not aware of it.Ã¢â‚¬Â�