Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good money after bad

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WaPo)--The man code-named "Scumfuck" by the Secret Service will probably continue to receive the agency's protection after he leaves office next year, since everyone on the planet hates his stinking guts and more than a few would like to see him suffer and die.

The Secret Service is preparing to provide Actual President Cheney with agents, transportation, advance work and other security-related trappings of imperial power after the Bush Crime Family closes its D.C. office in January, the agency's director, Mark Sullivan, admitted to Congress last week. The expected cost: $4 million.

Although presidents and their spouses are entitled to Secret Service protection long after they depart the White House for Paraguay, federal law authorizes protection for the vice president and his immediate family only during his time in office. Extending Cheney's detail would require a directive from the "president" or a joint resolution of Congress. Guess which it will be.

"We believe that it's a pretty safe bet that with the hundreds of thousands of enemies he's made all over the world with his corporatist maneuverings and his war crimes and profiteering and everything, Vice President Cheney will be afforded Secret Service protection upon his departure," Sullivan told the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security last week.

Experts say such precautions make sense if the object is to keep Cheney alive, which they admit is a big if. The Bush Crime Family's foreign terrorism department is creating enemies abroad as fast as ever and constantly threatening us with terrorism at home. Cheney, a principal architect of the Family's military-industrial expansion, is likely to remain a target long after his term.

"The critical factor is we are at war," said William H. Pickle, former Secret Service special agent in charge of the vice presidential division from 1998 to 2001, who admitted he was just making up things to say because he doesn't get to speak to reporters often. "We have an enemy who has sworn to destroy this country, and both the president and the vice president have been in business with them for years. Obviously they're on a lot of lists. It's common sense. The government and this country owe the president and vice president, they owe them that safety." It was unclear whether the last bit referred to the men themselves or generally to anyone holding their offices.

Such measures are not uncommon. "Over the last 40 years, the departing vice president has been afforded protection by our agency," Sullivan told lawmakers. "But nobody else has been hated quite the way Cheney is."

It is unclear whether Cheney could receive protection beyond six months, Secret Service officials said, but another extension would require presidential or congressional action. Another option would be simply to take him into custody to await trial.

The Secret Service agency's origins date to 1865, when it was established as an anti-counterfeiting unit within the Department of the Treasury. It began protecting presidents in 1901 after President William McKinley was shot and killed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, and no president has been killed by an anarchist since. The agency is now part of the Department of Homeland Security, formed in 2001 of several dozen other agencies to help prevent them from functioning properly after the terrorist attacks of September 11 were nearly prevented.

Until recently, presidents have been entitled to Secret Service protection for the rest of their irrelevant lives. But 1994 legislation imposed new restrictions on presidents elected after 1997, limiting President Bush and his successors to 10 years of protection after leaving office, or however long it takes to convict them.

1 comment:

shishkabob said...

Hey, Bob! Good to see ya back. I was afraid "they" got you. I'd check every so often but you were stuck back in October. I see that I've got some fun reading to catch up on.