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Monday, September 22, 2008

Historians take note

Dick Cheney, arguably the most powerful vice-president in United States history, has been instructed not to withhold or destroy important policy documents as the G.W. Bush presidency winds down its last months.

According to a story in the Washington Post, written by columnist Christopher Lee, after a lawsuit filed by the watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility, federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the Vice President to preserve all his official records.

Several historians joined the watchdog group in issuing the warning that Cheney - also arguably the most secretive vice president on record - might feel able to destroy certain records, under the terms of the Presidential Records Act of 1978. If so, it would deprive historians of material documenting the Vice President's prominent role in formulating U.S. policy.

A spokesman for Cheney said his office would not comment, pending litigation.
Despite the secrecy and so forth, an immediate bestseller describing Cheney's vice presidency came out last week. Rather mystifyingly, it is titled Angler, though with a more comprehensible sub-title, The Cheney Vice Presidency. The author is wellknown WP columnist Barton Gellman.

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