Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

today's date February 14, 2013

page 446

TOPIC:  Dick Cheney and LANCE

2-14-13 - DREAM -  I dreamt that I was living in an apartment building.  I had music playing loudly in the living room, but I could hear my husband talking to Bob the Painter (he always wears white)  in another room, and there was a woman wearing a long gown of red and dark blue, with swirled colors in the gown. 

I was sweeping the floors in the bathroom, where I saw some green grapes on the floor, but a lot of dirt like graphite and the more I swept, the more dirt I found and it was blowing in the wind.   I finally turned off the music so I could hear my husband, Bob the Painter and this other woman talking, and by now I had the door open to the hallway as well.  I was still sweeping this blowing graphite like dirt.  The more I swept, the more dirt I found. It was like this blowing dirt was leading me somewhere I hadn't been before.

I heard the woman talking about someone's lock box being broken into while she was attending a funeral, and while I'm still sweeping - seemingly from open bathroom to open bathroom, I saw a man's body laying face down on the floor off to my left, and the dirt I'm sweeping is blowing in the wind and I see some oriental people running down the steps to check their lock boxes, and I heard the woman say the man had been killed and the name I heard was LANCE, and Dick Cheney.  She said there was a connection between them.

I woke up suddenly feeling a little disoriented because that dream had taken mere seconds to have.


Born: January 30, 1941, 7:30 PM
in: Lincoln (NE) (United States)
Sun: 10°48' Aquarius AS: 2°55' Virgo
Moon: 22°41' Pisces MC: 27°59' Taurus
Dominants: Taurus, Aquarius, Virgo
Uranus, Mercury, Venus
Houses 9, 6, 7 / Earth, Air / Fixed
Chinese Astrology: Metal Snake
Numerology: Birthpath 1
Popularity: 8,908 clicks, 1,627th man, 2,832nd celebrity

Celebrities born the same day: 

  Christian Bale, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Phil Collins, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, Gene Hackman, Abdullah II of Jordan,
Jemima Khan, Vanessa Redgrave, Linda Susan Agar, Kid Cudi, Wilmer Valderrama, Nazi Germany...
 List of all the celebrities born on January 30.


Dick Cheney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dick Cheney
Cheney in 2004
46th Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Al Gore
Succeeded by Joe Biden
17th United States Secretary of Defense
In office
March 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
President George H. W. Bush
Deputy Donald J. Atwood, Jr.
Preceded by Frank Carlucci
Succeeded by Les Aspin
15th House Minority Whip
In office
January 3, 1989 – March 20, 1989
Leader Robert H. Michel
Preceded by Trent Lott
Succeeded by Newt Gingrich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1979 – March 20, 1989
Preceded by Teno Roncalio
Succeeded by Craig L. Thomas
7th White House Chief of Staff
In office
November 21, 1975 – January 20, 1977
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Donald Rumsfeld
Succeeded by Hamilton Jordan
Personal details
Born Richard Bruce Cheney
January 30, 1941 (age 72)
Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lynne Cheney (m. 1964–present)
Children Elizabeth Cheney
Mary Cheney
Residence McLean, Virginia
Jackson, Wyoming
Alma mater Yale University
University of Wyoming (BA, MA)
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Profession Politician
Religion Methodist
Signature Cursive signature in ink

Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney[1] (born January 30, 1941) is an American politician and businessman who was the 46th Vice President of the United States from 2001 to 2009, under President George W. Bush.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Cheney was primarily raised in Sumner, Nebraska, and Casper, Wyoming.[2] He began his political career as an intern for Congressman William A. Steiger, eventually working his way into the White House during the Nixon and Fordadministrations, where he later served as the White House Chief of Staff, from 1975 to 1977. In 1978, Cheney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing Wyoming's At-large congressional district from 1979 to 1989; he was reelected five times, briefly serving as House Minority Whip in 1989. Cheney was selected to be the Secretary of Defense during the presidency of George H. W. Bush, holding the position for the majority of Bush's term from 1989 to 1993. During his time in the Department of Defense, Cheney oversaw the 1991 Operation Desert Storm, among other actions. Out of office during the Clinton administration, Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000.

In July 2000, Cheney was chosen by presumptive Republican Presidential nominee George W. Bush as his running mate in the 2000 presidential election, where they defeated Democratic opponents, then Vice President Al Gore and Senator Joe Lieberman. In 2004Cheney was reelected to his second term as Vice President, defeating Senator John Kerry and his running mate Senator John Edwards. During Cheney's tenure as Vice President, he played a lead behind the scenes role in Bush Administration's response to the9/11 Terrorist Attacks and coordination of the War on Terror. He was an early proponent of the Iraq War and defender of the Administration's record on terrorism. He became at odds with the views of President Bush for his support of gay marriage in 2004. Cheney was often criticized for the Bush Administration's policies regarding the War on Terror, NSA Wiretapping and "Enhanced interrogation techniques."[3][4][5]

In 2011, Cheney published his memoir In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, written with wife Lynne Cheney, and is often cited as the most powerful Vice President in American history.[6][7]



Early life and education

Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of Marjorie Lorraine (née Dickey) and Richard Herbert Cheney. He is of predominantly English, as well as Welsh, Irish, and French Huguenot, ancestry; Cheney's 8th great-grandfather, William Cheney, immigrated from England to Massachusetts in the 17th century.[8][9][10] Although not a direct descendant, he is collaterally related to Benjamin Pierce Cheney (1815–1895), the early American expressman. Cheney is a very distant cousin of both Harry S. Truman and Barack Obama; the three share a common ancestor in Mareen Duvall, a Huguenot who fled from France to England in the 17th century and later settled in Maryland.[11] His father was a soil conservation agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his mother was a softball star in the 1930s;[12] Cheney was one of three children.

He attended Calvert Elementary School[13][14] before his family moved to Casper, Wyoming,[15] where he attended Natrona County High School.

He attended Yale University, but by his own account had problems adjusting to the college, and flunked out twice.[16] Among the influential teachers from his days in New Haven was Professor H. Bradford Westerfield, whom Cheney repeatedly credited with having helped to shape his approach to foreign policy.[17] He later attended the University of Wyoming, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in political science. He subsequently started, but did not finish, doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[18]

In November 1962, at the age of 21, Cheney was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). He was arrested for DWI again the following year.[19] Cheney said that the arrests made him "think about where I was and where I was headed. I was headed down a bad road if I continued on that course".[20]

In 1964, he married Lynne Vincent, his high school sweetheart, whom he had met at age 14.

When Cheney became eligible for the draft, during the Vietnam War, he applied for and received five draft deferments.[21][22] In 1989, The Washington Post writer George C. Wilson interviewed Cheney as the next Secretary of Defense; when asked about his deferments, Cheney reportedly said, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service".[23] Cheney testified during his confirmation hearings in 1989 that he received deferments to finish a college career that lasted six years rather than four, owing to sub-par academic performance and the need to work to pay for his education. Initially, he was not called up because the Selective Service System was only taking older men. When he became eligible for the draft, he applied for four deferments in sequence. He applied for his fifth exemption on January 19, 1966, when his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant. He was granted 3-A status, the "hardship" exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. In January 1967, Cheney turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft.[24]

Early White House appointments

White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld (left) and his assistant Cheney (right) meet with President Gerald Ford at the White House, April 1975

Cheney's political career began in 1969, as an intern for Congressman William A. Steiger during the Richard Nixon Administration. He then joined the staff of Donald Rumsfeld, who was then Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity from 1969–70.[19] He held several positions in the years that followed: White House Staff Assistant in 1971, Assistant Director of the Cost of Living Council from 1971–73, and Deputy Assistant to the president from 1974–1975. As deputy assistant, Cheney suggested several options in a memo to Rumsfeld, including use of the US Justice Department, that the Ford administration could use to limit damage from an article, published by The New York Times, in which investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported that Navy submarines had tapped into Soviet undersea communications as part of a highly classified program, Operation Ivy Bells.[25][26]

Cheney was Assistant to the President under Gerald Ford. When Rumsfeld was named Secretary of Defense, Cheney became White House Chief of Staff, succeeding Rumsfeld.[19] He later was campaign manager for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign.[27]

U.S. House of Representatives


In 1978, Cheney was elected to represent Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives and succeed retiring Congressman Teno Roncalio, having defeated his Democraticopponent, Bill Bailey. Cheney was re-elected five times, serving until 1989.



In 1987, he was elected Chairman of the House Republican Conference. The following year, he was elected House Minority Whip.[28][28] He served for two and a half months before he was appointed Secretary of Defense instead of former U.S. Senator John G. Tower, whose nomination had been rejected by the U.S. Senate in March 1989.[29]

Cheney meets with President Ronald Reagan, 1983

He voted against the creation of the U.S. Department of Education, citing his concern over budget deficits and expansion of the federal government, and claiming that the Department was an encroachment on states' rights.[30] He voted against funding Head Start, but reversed his position in 2000.[31]

Cheney supported Bob Michel’s (R-IL) bid to become Republican Minority Leader.[32] In April 1980, Cheney endorsed Governor Ronald Reagan for President, becoming one of Reagan's earliest supporters.[33]

In 1986, after President Ronald Reagan vetoed a bill to impose economic sanctions on South Africa for its policy of apartheid, Cheney was one of 83 Representatives to vote against overriding Reagan's veto.[34] In later years, he articulated his opposition to unilateral sanctions against many different countries, stating "they almost never work"[35] and that in that case they might have ended up hurting the people instead.[36]

In 1986, Cheney, along with 145 Republicans and 31 Democrats, voted against a non-binding Congressional resolution calling on the South African government to release Nelson Mandela from prison, after the Democrats defeated proposed amendments that would have required Mandela to renounce violence sponsored by the African National Congress (ANC) and requiring it to oust the communist faction from its leadership; the resolution was defeated. Appearing on CNN, Cheney addressed criticism for this, saying he opposed the resolution because the ANC "at the time was viewed as a terrorist organization and had a number of interests that were fundamentally inimical to the United States."[37]

The federal building in Casper, a regional center of the fossil fuel industry, is named the Dick Cheney Federal Building.[38]

Committee assignments

Originally declining, U.S. Congressman Barber Conable persuaded Cheney to join the moderate Republican Wednesday Group in order to move up the leadership ranks. He was elected Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987. Cheney was the Ranking Member of the Select Committee to investigate the Iran-Contra Affair.[19][39][40]He promoted Wyoming's petroleum and coal businesses as well.[41]

Secretary of Defense

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, 1989–1993
Secretary Cheney with President Bush, 1991
Secretary of Defense Cheney delivering a speech before the launch of destroyer USS Arleigh Burke

President George H. W. Bush nominated Cheney for the office of Secretary of Defense immediately after the U.S. Senate failed to confirm John Tower for that position.[42] The senate confirmed Cheney by a vote of 92 to 0[42] and he served in that office from March 1989 to January 1993. He directed the United States invasion of Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East. In 1991 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bush.[28]

Early tenure

Cheney worked closely with Pete Williams, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, from the beginning of his tenure. He focused primarily on external matters, and left most internal Pentagon management to Deputy Secretary of Defense Donald J. Atwood, Jr.[29]

Budgetary practices

Cheney's most immediate issue as Secretary of Defense was the Department of Defense budget. Cheney deemed it appropriate to cut the budget and downsize the military, following President Ronald Reagan's peacetime defense buildup at the height of the Cold War.[43] As part of the fiscal year 1990 budget, Cheney assessed the requests from each of the branches of the armed services for such expensive programs as theB-2 stealth bomber, the V-22 Osprey tilt-wing helicopter, the Aegis destroyer and the MX missile, totaling approximately $4.5 billion in light of changed world politics.[29] Cheney opposed the V-22 program, which Congress had already appropriated funds for, and initially refused to issue contracts for it before relenting.[44] When the 1990 Budget came before Congress in the summer of 1989, it settled on a figure between the Administration's request and the House Armed Services Committee's recommendation.[29] In subsequent years under Cheney, the proposed and adopted budgets followed patterns similar to that of 1990. Early in 1991, he unveiled a plan to reduce military strength by the mid-1990s to 1.6 million, compared with 2.2 million when he entered office. Cheney's 1993 defense budget was reduced from 1992, omitting programs that Congress had directed the Department of Defense to buy weapons that it did not want, and omitting unrequested reserve forces.[29]

Over his four years as Secretary of Defense, Cheney downsized the military and his budgets showed negative real growth, despite pressures to acquire weapon systems advocated by Congress. The Department of Defense's total obligational authority in current dollars declined from $291 billion to $270 billion. Total military personnel strength decreased by 19 percent, from about 2.2 million in 1989 to about 1.8 million in 1993.[29]Notwithstanding the overall reduction in military spending, Cheney directed the development of a Pentagon plan to ensure U.S. military dominance in the post-Cold War era.[45]

Political climate and agenda

Cheney publicly expressed concern that nations such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, could acquire nuclear components after the collapse of theSoviet Union in 1991. The end of the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact obliged the first Bush Administration to reevaluate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) purpose and makeup. Cheney believed that NATO should remain the foundation of European security relationships and that it would remain important to the United States in the long term; he urged the alliance to lend more assistance to the new democracies in Eastern Europe.[29]

Cheney's views on NATO reflected his skepticism about prospects for peaceful social development in the former Eastern Bloc countries, where he saw a high potential for political uncertainty and instability. He felt that the Bush Administration was too optimistic in supporting General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev and his successor, Russian President Boris Yeltsin.[29] Cheney worked to maintain strong ties between the United States and its European allies.[46]

Cheney persuaded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to allow bases for U.S. ground troops and war planes in the nation. This was an important element of the success of the Gulf War, as well as a lightning-rod for Islamists, such as Osama bin Laden, who opposed having non-Muslim armies near their holy sites.[47]

International situations

Using economic sanctions and political pressure, the United States mounted a campaign to drive Panamanian ruler General Manuel Antonio Noriega from power after he fell from favour.[29] In May 1989, after Guillermo Endara had been duly elected President of Panama, Noriega nullified the election outcome, drawing intensified pressure. In October, Noriega suppressed a military coup, but in December, after soldiers of the Panamanian army killed a U.S. serviceman, the United States invasion of Panama began under Cheney's direction. The stated reason for the invasion was to seize Noriega to face drug charges in the United States, protect U.S. lives and property, and restore Panamanian civil liberties.[48] Although the mission was controversial,[49] U.S. forces achieved control of Panama and Endara assumed the Presidency; Noriega was convicted and imprisoned onracketeering and drug trafficking charges in April 1992.[50]

Secretary of Defense Cheney during a press conference on the Gulf War

In 1991, the Somali Civil War drew the world's attention. In August 1992, the United States began to provide humanitarian assistance, primarily food, through a military airlift. At President Bush's direction, Cheney dispatched the first of 26,000 U.S. troops to Somalia as part of the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), designed to provide security and food relief.[29] Cheney's successors as Secretary of Defense,Les Aspin and William J. Perry, had to contend with both the Bosnian and Somali issues.

Iraqi invasion of Kuwait

On August 1, 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein sent the invading Iraqi forces into neighboring Kuwait, a small petroleum-rich state long claimed by Iraq as part of its territory. This invasion sparked the initiation of the Persian Gulf War and it brought worldwide condemnation.[51] An estimated 140,000 Iraqi troops quickly took control of Kuwait City and moved on to the Saudi Arabia/Kuwait border.[29] The United States had already begun to develop contingency plans for the defense of Saudi Arabia by the U.S. Central Command, headed by General Norman Schwarzkopf, because of its important petroleum reserves.

U.S. and world reaction
Cheney meets with Prince Sultan, Minister of Defence and Aviation in Saudi Arabia to discuss how to handle theinvasion of Kuwait

Cheney and Schwarzkopf oversaw planning for what would become a full-scale U.S. military operation. According to General Colin Powell, Cheney "had become a glutton for information, with an appetite we could barely satisfy. He spent hours in the National Military Command Center peppering my staff with questions."[29]

Shortly after the Iraqi invasion, Cheney made the first of several visits to Saudi Arabia where King Fahd requested U.S. military assistance. The United Nations took action as well, passing a series of resolutions condemning Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; the UN Security Council authorized "all means necessary" to eject Iraq from Kuwait, and demanded that the country withdraw its forces by January 15, 1991.[51] By then, the United States had a force of about 500,000 stationed in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. Other nations, including Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Syria, and Egypt, contributed troops, and other allies, most notably Germany and Japan, agreed to provide financial support for the coalition effort, named Operation Desert Shield.[29]

On January 12, 1991, Congress authorized Bush to use military force to enforce Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions on Kuwait.[51]

Military action

The first phase of Operation Desert Storm, which began on January 17, 1991, was an air offensive to secure air superiority and attack Iraqi forces, targeting key Iraqi command and control centers, including the cities of Baghdad and Basra. Cheney turned most other Department of Defense matters over to Deputy Secretary Atwood and briefed Congress during the air and ground phases of the war.[29] He flew with Powell to the region (specifically Riyadh) to review and finalize the ground war plans.[51]

After an air offensive of more than five weeks, UN Coalition forces launched the ground war on February 24. Within 100 hours, Iraqi forces had been routed from Kuwait and Schwarzkopf reported that the basic objective—expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait—had been met on February 27.[52] After consultation with Cheney and other members of his national security team, Bush declared a suspension of hostilities.[51]


A total of 147 U.S. military personnel died in combat, and another 236 died as a result of accidents or other causes.[29][52] Iraq agreed to a formal truce on March 3, and a permanent cease-fire on April 6.[29] There was subsequent debate about whether UN Coalition forces should have driven as far as Baghdad to oust Saddam Hussein from power. Bush agreed that the decision to end the ground war when they did was correct, but the debate persisted as Hussein remained in power and rebuilt his military forces.[29] Arguably the most significant debate concerned whether U.S. and Coalition forces had left Iraq too soon.[53][54] In an April 15, 1994 interview with C-SPAN, Cheney was asked if the U.S. and UN forces should have moved into Baghdad. Cheney replied that occupying and attempting to take over the country would have been a "bad idea" and would have led to a "quagmire", explaining that:

Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it - eastern Iraq - the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families - it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.[55][56]

Cheney regarded the Gulf War as an example of the kind of regional problem the United States was likely to continue to face in the future.[57]

We're always going to have to be involved [in the Middle East]. Maybe it's part of our national character, you know we like to have these problems nice and neatly wrapped up, put a ribbon around it. You deploy a force, you win the war and the problem goes away. But it doesn't work that way in the Middle East. It never has, and isn't likely to in my lifetime.

Private sector career

Between 1987 and 1989, during his last term in Congress, Cheney was a director of the Council on Foreign Relations foreign policy organization.[58]

With the new Democratic administration under President Bill Clinton in January 1993, Cheney left the Department of Defense and joined the American Enterprise Institute. He also served a second term as a Council on Foreign Relations director from 1993 to 1995.[58] From 1995 until 2000, he served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer ofHalliburton, a Fortune 500 company.

Cheney's record as CEO was subject to some dispute among Wall Street analysts. A 1998 merger between Halliburton and Dresser Industries attracted the criticism of some Dresser executives for Halliburton's lack of accounting transparency.[59] Although Cheney is not named as an individual defendant in the suit, Halliburton shareholders are pursuing a class-action lawsuit alleging that the corporation artificially inflated its stock price during this period. In June of 2011, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling and allowed the case to continue be litigated.[60] Cheney was named in a December 2010 corruption complaint filed by the Nigerian government against Halliburton, which thecompany settled for $250 million.[61]

During Cheney's tenure, Halliburton changed its accounting practices regarding revenue realization of disputed costs on major construction projects.[62] Cheney resigned as CEO of Halliburton on July 25, 2000. As vice president, he argued that this step removed any conflict of interest. Cheney's net worth, estimated to be between $30 million and $100 million, is largely derived from his post at Halliburton, as well as the Cheneys' gross income of nearly $8.82 million.[63][not in citation given]

He was also a member of the board of advisors of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) before becoming vice president.[47]

2000 presidential election

In early 2000, while serving as the CEO of Halliburton, Cheney headed then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush's vice-presidential search committee. On July 25, after reviewing Cheney's findings, Bush surprised some pundits by asking Cheney himself to join the Republican ticket.[19][64] Halliburton reportedly reached agreement on July 20 to allow Cheney to retire, with a package estimated at $20 million.[65]

A few months before the election Cheney put his home in Dallas up for sale and changed his drivers' license and voter registration back to Wyoming. This change was necessary to allow Texas' presidential electors to vote for both Bush and Cheney without contravening the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forbids electors from voting for someone from their own state for both President and Vice President.

Cheney campaigned against Al Gore's running mate, Joseph Lieberman, in the 2000 presidential election. While the election was undecided, the Bush-Cheney team was not eligible for public funding to plan a transition to a new administration. So, Cheney opened a privately funded transition office in Washington. This office worked to identify candidates for all important positions in the cabinet.[66] According to Craig Unger, Cheney advocated Donald Rumsfeld for the post of Secretary of Defense to counter the influence of Colin Powell at the State Department, and tried unsuccessfully to have Paul Wolfowitz named to replace George Tenet as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[67]

Vice Presidency

First term

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Cheney remained physically apart from Bush for security reasons. For a period, Cheney stayed at an undisclosed location, out of public view.[68] He also utilized a heavy security detail, employing a motorcade of 12 to 18 government vehicles for his daily commute from the Vice Presidential residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory to the White House.[69]

On the morning of June 29, 2002, Cheney served as Acting President of the United States under the terms of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, while Bush was undergoing a colonoscopy. Cheney acted as President from 11:09 UTC that day until Bush resumed the powers of the presidency at 13:24 UTC.[70][71]

Iraq War

Cheney speaks to US troops at Camp Anaconda, Iraq in 2008

Following 9/11, Cheney was instrumental in providing a primary justification for a renewed war against Iraq. Cheney helped shape Bush's approach to the "War on Terror", making numerous public statements alleging Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction,[72] and making several personal visits to CIA headquarters, where he questioned mid-level agency analysts on their conclusions.[73] Cheney continued to allege links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, even though President Bush received a classified President's Daily Brief on September 21, 2001 indicating the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks and that "there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda".[74] Furthermore, in 2004, the 9/11 Commission concluded that there was no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda.[75]

Following the US invasion of Iraq, Cheney remained steadfast in his support of the war, stating that it would be an "enormous success story",[76] and made many visits to the country. He often criticized war critics, calling them "opportunists" who were peddling "cynical and pernicious falsehoods" to gain political advantage while US soldiers died in Iraq. In response, Senator John Kerry asserted, "It is hard to name a government official with less credibility on Iraq [than Cheney]."[77]

In a March 24, 2008 extended interview conducted in Ankara, Turkey with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz on the fifth anniversary of the original U.S. military assault on Iraq, Cheney responded to a question about public opinion polls showing that Americans had lost confidence in the war by simply replying "So?"[78] This remark prompted widespread criticism, including from former Oklahoma Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards, a long-time personal friend of Cheney.[79]

Second term

President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus(right) meets with Vice President Cheney inVilnius, May 2006

Bush and Cheney were re-elected in the 2004 presidential election, running against John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards. During the election, the pregnancy of his daughter Mary and her sexual orientation as a lesbian became a source of public attention for Cheney in light of the same-sex marriage debate.[80] Cheney has stated that he is in favor of gay marriages but that each individual state should decide whether to permit it.[81]

Cheney's former chief legal counsel, David Addington,[82] became his chief of staff and remained in that office until Cheney's departure from office. John P. Hannah served as Cheney's national security adviser.[83] Until his indictment and resignation[84] in 2005, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr. served in both roles.[85]

On the morning of July 21, 2007, Cheney once again served as acting president, from 7:16 am to 9:21 am. Bush transferred the power of the presidency prior to undergoing a medical procedure, requiring sedation, and later resumed his powers and duties that same day.[86]

After his term began in 2001, Cheney was occasionally asked if he was interested in the Republican nomination for the 2008 elections. However, he always maintained that he wished to retire upon the expiration of his term and he did not run in the 2008 presidential primaries. The Republicans nominated Arizona Senator John McCain.[87]

Disclosure of documents

Cheney (far right) with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush

Cheney was a prominent member of the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG),[88] commonly known as the Energy task force, which comprised energy industry representatives, including several Enron executives. After the Enron scandal, the Bush administration was accused of improper political and business ties. In July 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the US Department of Commerce must disclose NEPDG documents, containing references to companies that had made agreements with the previous Iraqi government to extract Iraq's petroleum.[89]

Beginning in 2003, Cheney's staff opted not to file required reports with the National Archives and Records Administration office charged with assuring that the executive branch protects classified information, nor did it allow inspection of its record keeping.[90] Cheney refused to release the documents, citing his executive privilege to deny congressional information requests.[91][92] Media outlets such asTime magazine and CBS News questioned whether Cheney had created a "fourth branch of government" that was not subject to any laws.[93] A group of historians and open-government advocates filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, asking the court to declare that Cheney's vice-presidential records are covered by the Presidential Records Act of 1978 and cannot be destroyed, taken or withheld from the public without proper review.[94][95][96][97]

CIA leak scandal

Handwritten note above Joe Wilson's editorial by Cheney referring to the covert agent before the leak took place

On October 18, 2005, The Washington Post reported that the vice president's office was central to the investigation of the Valerie PlameCIA leak scandal, for Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was one of the figures under investigation.[98] Following an indictment, Libby resigned his positions as Cheney's chief of staff and assistant on national security affairs.

On September 8, 2006, Richard Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State, publicly announced that he was the source of the revelation of Plame's status. Armitage said he was not a part of a conspiracy to reveal Plame's identity and did not know whether one existed.[99]

In February 2006, The National Journal reported that Libby had stated before a grand jury that his superiors, including Cheney, had authorized him to disclose classified information to the press regarding intelligence on Iraq's weapons.[100]

On March 6, 2007, Libby was convicted on four felony counts for obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements to federal investigators.[101] In his closing arguments, independent prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said that there was "a cloud over the vice president",[102] an apparent reference to Cheney's interview with FBI agents investigating the case, which was made public in 2009.[103] Cheney lobbied President George W. Bush vigorously and unsuccessfully to grant Libby a full Presidential pardon up to the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, likening Libby to a "soldier on the battlefield".[104]

Assassination attempt

Cheney speaks to the press flanked by fellow Republicans Mitch McConnell (left) and Trent Lott, April 2007

On February 27, 2007, at about 10 am, a suicide bomber killed 23 people and wounded 20 more outside Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan during a visit by Cheney. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and declared that Cheney was its intended target. They also claimed that Osama Bin Laden supervised the operation.[105] The bomb went off outside the front gate, however, while Cheney was inside the base and half a mile away. He reported hearing the blast, saying "I heard a loud boom...The Secret Service came in and told me there had been an attack on the main gate."[106] The purpose of Cheney's visit to the region had been to press Pakistan for a united front against the Taliban.[107]

Policy formulation

Pope Benedict XVI, Vice President Dick Cheney and Mrs. Lynne Cheney at a farewell ceremony for the Pope at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Cheney has been characterized as the most powerful and influential Vice President in history.[108][109] Both supporters and critics of Cheney regard him as a shrewd and knowledgeable politician who knows the functions and intricacies of the federal government. A sign of Cheney's active policy-making role was then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert's provision of an office near the House floor for Cheney[110] in addition to his office in the West Wing,[111] his ceremonial office in the Old Executive Office Building,[112] and his Senate offices (one in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and another off the floor of the Senate).[110][113]

Cheney has actively promoted an expansion of the powers of the presidency, saying that the Bush administration’s challenges to the laws which Congress passed after Vietnam and Watergate to contain and oversee the executive branch—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Presidential Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the War Powers Resolution—are, in Cheney's words, "a restoration, if you will, of the power and authority of the president".[114][115]

Vice President Cheney escorts former first lady Nancy Reagan at the commissioning ceremony of the USS Ronald Reagan, 2003

In June 2007, the Washington Post summarized Cheney’s vice presidency in a Pulitzer Prize-winning[116] four-part series, based in part on interviews with former administration officials. The articles characterized Cheney not as a "shadow" president, but as someone who usually has the last words of counsel to the president on policies, which in many cases would reshape the powers of the presidency. When former Vice President Dan Quayle suggested to Cheney that the office was largely ceremonial, Cheney reportedly replied, "I have a different understanding with the president." The articles described Cheney as having a secretive approach to the tools of government, indicated by the use of his own security classification and three man-sized safes in his offices.[117]

The articles described Cheney’s influence on decisions pertaining to detention of suspected terrorists and the legal limits that apply to their questioning, especially what constitutes torture.[118] U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Colin Powell's chief of staff when he was both Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the same time Cheney was Secretary of Defense, and then later when Powell was Secretary of State, stated in an in-depth interview that Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld established an alternative program to interrogate post-9/11 detainees because of their mutual distrust of CIA.[119]

The Washington Post articles, principally written by Barton Gellman, further characterized Cheney as having the strongest influence within the administration in shaping budget and tax policy in a manner that assures "conservative orthodoxy."[120] They also highlighted Cheney’s behind-the-scenes influence on the administration’s environmental policy to ease pollution controls for power plants, facilitate the disposal of nuclear waste, open access to federal timber resources, and avoid federal constraints on greenhouse gas emissions, among other issues. The articles characterized his approach to policy formulation as favoring business over the environment.[121]

Cheney walks with SaudiCrown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, May 2007

In June 2008, Cheney allegedly attempted to block efforts by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to strike a controversial US compromise deal with North Korea over the communist state's nuclear program.[122]

In July 2008, a former Environmental Protection Agency official stated publicly that Cheney's office had pushed significantly for large-scale deletions from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on the health effects of global warming "fearing the presentation by a leading health official might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases."[123] In October, when the report appeared with six pages cut from the testimony, The White House stated that the changes were made due to concerns regarding the accuracy of the science. However, according to the former senior adviser on climate change to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson, Cheney's office was directly responsible for nearly half of the original testimony being deleted.[123]

In his role as President of the U.S. Senate, Cheney broke with the Bush Administration Department of Justice, and signed an amicus brief to theUnited States Supreme Court in the case of Heller v. District of Columbia that successfully challenged gun laws in the nation's capitol on Second Amendment grounds.[124]

On February 14, 2010, in an appearance on ABC's This Week, Cheney reiterated his support of waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques for captured terrorist suspects, saying, "I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program."[125] At the time, Cheney still enjoyed strong support from voters in the Republican Party.[126]

Post Vice-Presidency

Political activity

Cheney speaking at CPAC in February 2011.

The Washington Post reported in 2008 that Cheney purchased a home in McLean, Virginia (Washington suburbs), which he was to tear down for a replacement structure. He also maintains homes in Wyoming and on Maryland's Eastern Shore.[127] In July 2012, Cheney used his Wyoming home to host a private fund-raiser for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, which netted over $4 million in contributions from attendees for Romney's campaign.[128]

Cheney is the subject of an HBO television mini-series based on Barton Gellman's 2008 book Angler[129] and the 2006 documentary The Dark Side, produced by the Public Broadcasting Service.[130]

Cheney maintained a visible public profile after leaving office,[131] being especially critical of Obama administration policies on national security.[132][133][134] In May 2009, Cheney spoke of his support for same-sex marriage, becoming one of the most prominent Republican politicians to do so. Speaking to the National Press Club, Cheney stated, "People ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish. I do believe, historically, the way marriage has been regulated is at a state level. It's always been a state issue, and I think that's the way it ought to be handled today."[135] In 2012, Cheney reportedly encouraged several Maryland state legislators to vote to legalize same-sex marriage in that state.[136]

Although, by custom, a former vice president unofficially receives six months of protection from the United States Secret Service, President Obama reportedly extended the protection period for Cheney.[137]

On July 11, 2009, CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Senate and House intelligence committees that the CIA withheld information about a secret counter-terrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from Cheney. Intelligence and Congressional officials have said the unidentified program did not involve the CIA interrogation program and did not involve domestic intelligence activities. They have said the program was started by the counter-terrorism center at the CIA shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, but never became fully operational, involving planning and some training that took place off and on from 2001 until this year.[138] The Wall Street Journal reported, citing former intelligence officials familiar with the matter, that the program was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives.[139]

Criticism of President Obama

Cheney has publicly criticized President Obama since the 2008 presidential election. On December 29, 2009, four days after the attempted bombing of an international passenger flight from Netherlands to United States, Cheney criticized Obama: "[We] are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren't, it makes us less safe. [...] Why doesn't he want to admit we're at war? It doesn't fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn't fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency—social transformation—the restructuring of American society."[140] In response, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the official White House blog the following day, "[I]t is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer."[141][142]

During a February 14, 2010 appearance on ABC's This Week, Cheney reiterated his criticism of the Obama administration's policies for handling suspected terrorists, criticizing the "mindset" of treating "terror attacks against the United States as criminal acts as opposed to acts of war".[125]

In a May 2, 2011, interview with ABC News, Cheney praised the Obama administration for the operation that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden.[143]


Cheney in 2012, promoting his book

In August 2011, Cheney published his memoir, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, written with Liz Cheney. The book outlines Cheney's recollections of 9/11, the War on Terrorism, the 2001 War in Afghanistan, the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war, enhanced interrogation techniques and other events.[144] According to Barton Gellman, the author of Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, Cheney's book differs from publicly available records on details surrounding the NSA surveillance program.[145][146]

Public perception

Cheney's early public opinion polls were more favorable than unfavorable, reaching his peak approval rating in the wake of the September 11th attacks at 68 percent.[147] However, polling numbers for both him and the president gradually declined in their second terms,[147][148] with Cheney reaching his lowest point shortly before leaving office at 13 percent. [149] [150] Cheney's Gallup poll figures are mostly consistent with those from other polls:[147][151]

In April 2007, Cheney was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service by Brigham Young University, where he delivered the commencement address.[152] His selection as commencement speaker was controversial. The college board of trustees issued a statement explaining that the invitation should be viewed "as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure".[153] BYU permitted a protest to occur so long as it did not "make personal attacks against Cheney, attack (the) BYU administration, the church or the First Presidency".[154]

Cheney has often been compared to Darth Vader, a characterization originated by his critics but later adopted humorously by Cheney himself as well as members of his family and staff.[155]

Personal life

Cheney is a member of the United Methodist Church[156] and was "the first Methodist Vice President to serve under a Methodist president."[157]

His wife, Lynne Cheney, was Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1996. She is now a public speaker, author, and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The couple have two children, Elizabeth and Mary, and six grandchildren. Elizabeth, his elder daughter, is married to Philip J. Perry, former General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. Mary Cheney, a former employee of the Colorado Rockies baseball team and Coors Brewing Company, a campaign aide to the Bush re-election campaign, and an open lesbian, currently lives in Great Falls, Virginia, with her longtime partner Heather Poe.[158]

Health problems

Cheney's long histories of cardiovascular disease and periodic need for urgent health care raised questions of whether he was medically fit to serve in public office.[159] Havingsmoked up to three or more packs of cigarettes for nearly 20 years,[160] Cheney sustained the first of five heart attacks in 1978, at age 37. Subsequent attacks in 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2010 have resulted in moderate contractile dysfunction of his left ventricle.[161] [162] He underwent four-vessel coronary artery bypass grafting in 1988, coronary artery stenting in November 2000, urgent coronary balloon angioplasty in March 2001, and the implantation of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator in June, 2001.[161]

On September 24, 2005, Cheney underwent a six-hour endo-vascular procedure to repair popliteal artery aneurysms bilaterally, a catheter treatment technique used in the artery behind each knee.[163] The condition was discovered at a regular physical in July, and was not life-threatening.[164] Cheney was hospitalized for tests after experiencing shortness of breath five months later. In late April 2006, an ultrasound revealed that the clot was smaller.[163]

On March 5, 2007, Cheney was treated for deep-vein thrombosis in his left leg at George Washington University Hospital after experiencing pain in his left calf. Doctors prescribed blood-thinning medication and allowed him to return to work.[165] CBS News reported that during the morning of November 26, 2007, Cheney was diagnosed with atrial fibrillationand underwent treatment that afternoon.[163]

On July 12, 2008, Cheney underwent a cardiological exam; doctors reported that his heartbeat was normal for a 67-year-old man with a history of heart problems. As part of his annual checkup, he was administered an electrocardiogram and radiological imaging of the stents placed in the arteries behind his knees in 2005. Doctors said that Cheney had not experienced any recurrence of atrial fibrillation and that his special pacemaker had neither detected nor treated any arrhythmia.[166] On October 15, 2008, Cheney returned to the hospital briefly to treat a minor irregularity.[167]

On January 19, 2009, Cheney strained his back "while moving boxes into his new house". As a consequence, he was in a wheelchair for two days, including his attendance at the2009 United States presidential inauguration.[168][169]

On February 22, 2010, Cheney was admitted to George Washington University Hospital after experiencing chest pains. A spokesperson later said Cheney had experienced a mild heart attack after doctors had run tests.[162] On June 25, 2010, Cheney was admitted to George Washington University Hospital after reporting discomfort.[170]

In early July 2010, Cheney was outfitted with a left-ventricular assist device (LVAD) at Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute to compensate for worsening congestive heart failure.[171] The device pumped blood continuously through his body.[172][173] He was released from Inova on August 9, 2010,[174] and had to decide whether to seek a full heart transplant.[175][176] This pump was centrifugal and as a result he remained alive without a pulse for nearly fifteen months.[177]

On March 24, 2012, Cheney underwent a seven-hour heart transplant procedure at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, at the age of 71. He had been on a waiting list for more than 20 months before receiving the heart from an anonymous donor.[178][179] Cheney's principal cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, advised his patient that "it would not be unreasonable for an otherwise healthy 71-year-old man to expect to live another 10 years" with a transplant, saying in a family-authorized interview that he considered Cheney to be otherwise healthy.[180]

Hunting incident

On February 11, 2006, Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, while participating in a quail hunt at Armstrong ranch in Kenedy County, Texas.[181]Secret Service agents and medical aides, who were traveling with Cheney, came to Whittington's assistance and treated his birdshot wounds to his right cheek, neck, and chest. An ambulance standing by for the Vice President took Whittington to nearby Kingsville before he was flown by helicopter to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi. On February 14, 2006, Whittington suffered a non-fatal heart attack and atrial fibrillation due to at least one lead-shot pellet lodged in or near his heart.[182] Because of the small size of the birdshot pellets, doctors decided to leave up to 200 pieces of the pellets lodged in his body rather than try to remove them.

The Secret Service stated that they notified the Sheriff about one hour after the shooting. Kenedy County Sheriff Ramone Salinas III stated that he first heard of the shooting at about 5:30 PM.[183] The next day, ranch owner Katharine Armstrong informed the Corpus Christi Caller-Times of the shooting.[184] Cheney had a televised interview with MSNBCNews about the shooting on February 15. Both Cheney and Whittington have called the incident an accident. Early reports indicated that Cheney and Whittington were friends and that the injuries were minor. Whittington has since told the Washington Post that he and Cheney were not close friends but acquaintances and has not said if Cheney apologized.[185]

The sheriff’s office released a report on the shooting on February 16, 2006 and witness statements on February 22, indicating that the shooting occurred on clear sunny day, and Whittington was shot from 30 or 40 yards (40 m) away while searching for a downed bird. Armstrong, the ranch owner, claimed that all in the hunting party were wearing blaze-orange safety gear and none had been drinking.[186] However, Cheney has acknowledged that he had one beer four or five hours prior to the shooting.[187] Although Kenedy County Sheriff's Office documents support the official story by Cheney and his party, re-creations of the incident produced by George Gongora and John Metz of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times indicated that the actual shooting distance was closer than the 30 yards claimed.[188]

The incident hurt Cheney's popularity standing in the polls.[189] According to polls on February 27, 2006, two weeks after the accident, Dick Cheney's approval rating had dropped 5 percentage points to 18%.[190] The incident has been the subject of jokes, satire and public ridicule.[191]



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TWA Flight 800 and the 9/11 Commission Cover Up: An Interview With Peter Lance
by Claire E. White (September, 2004) 

Was the 9/11 Commission Report a cover up? Were we lied to when we were told that 9/11 was the first time that Al-Qaeda hijacked and destroyed an American jetliner? Five time Emmy® award-winning investigative journalist 
Photo of Peter Lance
Journalist Peter Lance
and bestselling author Peter Lance asserts just that in his blockbuster new book Cover Up: What the Government is Still Hiding About the War on Terror (HarperCollins). In his 2003 bestselling nonfiction work, 1000 Years for Revenge(HarperCollins), Lance laid bare the plotting and events that led to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. After reading 1000 Years for Revenge, Governor Kean, Co-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, asked Peter Lance to testify in front of the Commission. His story of his experiences with the Commission and the 9/11 widows is absolutely fascinating. 

So far, Lance's new book, Cover Up: What The Government Is Still Hiding About The War On Terror, a meticulously researched and entertainingly written expose, has been embraced by the right, the left and the middle. Partisan interests seem to see the facts that Lance has brought to light through the lens of their beliefs. Lance has already appeared on Fox News, CNN and many other major news programs to discuss his insights. Lance lays out the amazing blunders and cover ups which began in the Clinton Administration and whichcontinue to this day with officials in the current Department of Justice. As a journalist, Lance says he is just following the trail of facts regardless of where they lead. He is adamant that "If we are truly to be safe, we have to de-politicize the debate over terrorism." But his trail of incendiary facts would seem to have some major political implications -- especially in an election year. Lance provides evidence that Ramzi Yousef, the Al-Qaeda perpetrator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was likely responsible for the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996, with the help of his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- the originator of the 9/11 plot. Lance also raises some disurbing questions about the events of 9/11 itself. For instance, it is not common knowledge that the morning of September 11, 2001, there were three war games simulations was taking place. One was being conducted near Dulles Airport in Washington to test the response of the National Reconnaissance Office in case a plane was flown into the NRO building. At the time of the attacks, two F-16s were actually in the air practicing bombing runs, within eight minutes flying time, yet they were never called by NORAD to intercept the attackers. The 9/11 Commission heard sworn testimony about these and many other facts, but failed to mention them in its Final Report which, generally speaking, did not place blame. In fact, much of the most important testimony was never made public, much to the anger of the "Jersey Girls," the 9/11 widows who lobbied for the creation of the 9/11 Commission. 

Peter spoke with us about testifying in front of the 9/11 Commission and discusses some of the immensely disturbing facts he uncovered while writing Cover Up. He also addresses the growing threat of terrorism and why Americans need to be informed about the facts before the upcoming presidential election. 

What was it like to testify in front of the 9/11 Commission? 

This is a short question that will require a long answer. As one who had set out to do a book on the Commission’s work, my “testimony” before the Commission on March 15th was an eye opener. 

Cover of Cover Up: What the Government is Still Hiding About the War
On Terror by Peter Lance
Click here
 for ordering information.
For one, it took place in a closed door session at the Commission’s New York office inside 26 Federal Plaza; the FBI’s building in Lower Manhattan. A source inside the Commission had warned me that more than 90% of the witness intake was anecdotal, i.e., not on the record or under oath, so I prepared my “testimony” ahead of time. 

You can read it as an Appendix to Cover Up and get it via my website at 

I had sent my book to Governor Kean (the chairman) over Christmas and he had responded, saying that he wanted to hear my findings. I had only two conditions: first that I not be forced to reveal confidential sources and second, that my information be made a part of the permanent Commission record. 

When Gov Kean referred me to Philip Zelikow, the staff director, who had co-written a book with Condi Rice and served on the Bush transition team, Zelikow wrote via email in January that I would be contacted by Dietrich “Dieter” Snell, one of the Team Leaders and a senior counsel to the Commission. 

As soon as I heard Snell’s name I suspected that what my source had been telling me was true: that the Commission staff was limiting the scope of the investigation and cherry picking evidence. 

Snell had been the Assistant U.S. attorney who co-prosecuted Ramzi Yousef for the “Bojinka” case in 1996. In my first book 1000 Years For Revenge I recounted how the Justice Department, during Snell’s tenure, had limited the scope of the Bojinka case. 

In April, 2002 I went to the Philippines where I interviewed Colonel Rodolfo B. Mendoza, the “Richard Clarke of the Philippines,” an expert on al Qaeda and its reach in Southeast Asia. 

Colonel Mendoza, aka Boogie, had interrogated the lifelong friend and cohort of Yousef: Abdul Hakim Murad. A pilot trained in four U.S. flight schools in the early 1990’s Murad had confessed to Boogie three plots that had been set into motion by Yousef’s cell in Manila as early as 1994. 

The first plot was a scheme to kill the Pope due to arrive in mid January, 1995. The second plot was the hijack airliners-fly-them-into-buildings scenario that was fulfilled on 9/11 and plot three was “Bojinka;” reportedly named by Yousef after the Serbo Croation word for “Big Noise.” 

This was a non-suicide plot in which Yousef and his three cohorts, Murad, Wali Khan Amin Shah (a confident of bin Laden’s) and Ramzi’s uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed would board the first leg of a series of U.S. bound flights heading from Asia. On the initial leg of each flight they would smuggle on the innocuous components of an ingenious “bomb trigger” Yousef had designed. Powered by a Casio watch and utilizing diluted nitroglycerine to be ignited via a broken bulb initiator, the IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were to be placed under seats (in the lifejacket pouches) located above the center fuel tanks of 747’s. 

The plotters would then exit after the planes touched down and the IED’s would blow hours later as the planes jetted back across the Pacific. Yousef had intended this to happen on 11 flights and he even “wet tested” one of the Casio-nitro devices on Philippines Airlines Flight 434 on the first leg of a flight from Manila to Cebu in the Southern Philippines on December 11, 1994. 

At the time he planted the device under seat 26K, in a row just shy of the center fuel tank. On its way to Japan the bomb blew, killing (Haruki Ikegami) the passenger in 26K and blowing a hole in the cabin floor, but it missed the fuel tank and the plane landed safely. 

But Yousef realized that if he just moved the devices a few rows forward they would serve as “blasting caps” to rip open the fuel tanks so he plotted with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Murad and Shah to plant the Casio-nitro bomb triggers aboard up to 11 jumbo jets exiting Asia. 

Yousef was captured in February 1995 after a fire in his Manila bomb factory. Murad was captured a month before and Shah was eventually arrested after first escaping from custody. 

By the spring of 1996, Dietrich Snell and his partner AUSA Mike Garcia were preparing to prosecute Yousef, Murad and Shah for the plot they dubbed “48 HOURS OF TERROR.” 

"Knowledge is power. If you want to make the right choice in November you simply have to get educated. Terrorism is the new Cold War but it presents complex threats that are distinct from the Mutually Assured Destruction of thermonuclear combat. Ironically, the average citizens may be at greater risk now than at the darkest hours of the U.S.-Soviet struggle."
I had mentioned in 1000 Years For Revenge how during the entire three month Bojinka trial Colonel Mendoza’s name had never surfaced even though he told me in a videotaped interview in 2002 that as early as the Spring of 1995 he had given the information on what was to become the 9/11 plot to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. 

In 1000 Years I questioned why Snell and Garcia had limited the scope of the Bojinka trial, never mentioned this suicide hijacking scenario, or Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and never brought Col. Mendoza to the U.S. to testify even though they flew over 11 other PNP officials. 

Further Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had been secretly indicted with Yousef in 1996 but his name had never surfaced in the press until January of 1998 when it appeared on the inside “jump” page of a NYT story on Yousef’s sentencing for both Bojinka and the WTC bombing. 

Dietrich Snell was one of the few ex-Department of Justice officials who would know why the Justice Dept. limited the scope of the Bojinka trial and why they kept the hunt for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed -- the man the FBI calls “the mastermind of 9/11” -- so secret. 

His nephew Ramzi had been captured after a very public hue and cry via a tip to the State Dept’s Rewards for Justice Program. Yousef’s want poster had been distributed world wide. It was even on matchbook covers. Yet the DOJ kept Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s identity quiet. If anybody knew why, it was an ex-DOJ prosecutor like Dietrich Dieter Snell. As I saw it, he should have been a witness before the 9/11 Commission, vs. one of its lead interrogators. 

Now on March 15th as my closed door “testimony” progressed I asked him a number of questions, to which he would reply, “that’s classified,” or “I can’t discuss that.” Variations on those responses. Why does this matter? 

Because the limitation of Colonel Mendoza’s evidence by the Justice Department that Snell worked for would come to have dire consequences on 9/11. Later Snell ran the 9/11 Commission team that wrote Staff Statement #16 on the origin of the 9/11 plot. 

Despite the evidence that I sent him following my testimony including files from the PNP and the audio and video of my interview with Colonel Mendoza, Snell took the position that the plot was not hatched by Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in 1994 (as I had found) but by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed alone in 1996. The Commission even implied that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was not a member of al Qaeda at the time. 

This was absolutely ridiculous since Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Murad, Shah, Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and a dozen other New York based cell members had been part of an active al Qaeda funded cell operating in New York City since the early 1990’s. In fact the FBI had many of them under surveillance as early as July of 1989. 

1000 Years had a 32 page timeline in the middle. Your readers can access it right now by going to my website and clicking on "Terrorism." In year by year detail (illustrated with pictures) the three part timeline proves that Yousef was bin Laden’s chief point man on terror from 1992 through his capture in 1995. 

But one of the most stunning revelations of my new Harper Collins book Cover Up, is that Yousef and his uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohammed may have also been behind the downing of TWA Flight #800 in July of 1996. 

We know that the 9/11 Commission had knowledge of this possible Yousef tie to TWA 800 as early as April 7th, 2004, but for unknown reasons, they left this startling revelation out of their Final Report. 

In concluding, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed alone conceived the 9/11 plot in 1996 and separating Yousef from it, Snell removed a significant amount of culpability from the Department of Justice and the FBI; since my last book showed that they could have stopped Yousef in 1992 before he set the WTC bomb which killed six and injured 1000. 

If the FBI’s New York Office (NYO) had stopped him then, they would have interdicted the Yousef-Khalid Shaikh Mohammed spawned 9/11 plot. 

But Snell took Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s own word for his conclusion that the plot was generated in 1996 and that he had acted alone. 

To me that’s like taking the word of David Berkowitz for the date of his first Son of Sam Murder. 

I believe Dietrich Snell should answer publicly: 

a) Why the last official body looking into the biggest mass murder in U.S. history left out probative evidence of an al Qaeda connection to the second biggest: TWA #800. 

b) Why the DOJ initially kept the hunt for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed so secret and 

c) Why they buried evidence that the 9/11 plot was created by Ramzi Yousef (the original WTC bomber) and his uncle as early as the fall of 1994. 

What surprised you the most about the experience? What was the most frustrating aspect of the experience? 

The frustrating part was sitting across from Dieter Snell who wouldn’t answer why he and his partner limited the scope of the Bojinka trial and never called Col. Mendoza. 

In the end, the Commission reduced my findings to an end note and, still never mentioned Colonel Mendoza’s name. Why? 

I'd like to talk about your new book, Cover Up: What the Government is Still Hiding About the War on Terror, which contains a number of shocking revelations. One of the most disturbing facts revealed is the true cause of the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 which killed 230 people. The evidence linking Al Qaeda member Ramzi Yousef (architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) to the crash of Flight 800 appears indisputable. So, to me, the key question here is: why hasn't the American public been told that Al Qaeda blew up a U.S. airliner in 1996, killing 230 people? If we had known that, surely airline security would have been stepped up considerably in 1996 -- not in 2001? 

I have stated that members of the Justice Department covered up the evidence linking al Qaeda to the crash of TWA #800 and Dietrich Snell was a party to that cover up. 

Go to and click #FBI #302’s. Then click on the one for 3/7/96 and you’ll find an internal FBI memo showing that Snell and two other senior Department of Justice officials (Valerie Caproni, chief of the criminal division for the EDNY (Eastern District of New York) and Patrick Fitzgerald, head of terrorism and organized crime in the SDNY (Southern District of New York) knew of the intelligence coming from Yousef, in the spring of 1996. 

Their source was Gregory Scarpa, Jr. a Mafia informant at the MCC (federal jail) in Lower Manhattan. Yousef passed Scarpa Jr. notes through a hole in the wall between their cells. In addition to intricate bomb schematics identical to the device Yousef used in the PAL #434 “wet test,” and other details only Yousef could know, the notes offered the high explosive RDX as an alternative to nitro glycerin in the manufacture of one of the “bomb triggers.” 

These #302’s repeatedly warn that Yousef was going to get his “people” to put a bomb on a plane to get a mistrial in the Bojinka case. As it turned out, TWA 800 went down on July 17, 1996, the eve of the most damning evidence versus Yousef being admitted at trial; namely Murad’s confession to Colonel Mendoza. 

Further, in the weeks that followed, the FBI found RDX, PETN and nitroglycerine in the area of the center fuel tank between rows 17-25 in the plane’s wreckage dredged from Long Island Sound. This was the precise area where Yousef planned to plant devices for Bojinka following his PAL “wet test.” 

The 9/11 Commission Report was noteworthy in the fact that it didn't blame anyone for 9/11. Not one person has lost his job because 9/11 happened; even though high-ranking witness after high-ranking witness to the Commission described blunders and missed opportunities leading up the attacks. Why did the Commission do that? Are the 9/11 widows unhappy with the findings? Was it a whitewash? 

Five of the leading widows -- “The Jersey Girls” Kristen Breitweiser, Mindy Kleinberg, Patty Casazza and Lorie van Auken along with Monica Gabrielle of Connecticut -- were extremely upset that the Commission failed to assess blame. That was one of their central goals in fighting for the creation of the Commission. Last week the five of them endorsed John Kerry. There’s no doubt in my mind that the 9/11 Commission Report was a whitewash. It’s well documented in Cover Up. 

Among the astonishing lapses left out of the final report: the fact that two F-16’s from the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard were practicing bombing runs over the Pinelands of Southern Jersey, eight minutes from Manhattan, but they were never notified by NORAD or the FAA. 

Cover Up by Peter Lance
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Governor Kean and John Farmer, his former Attorny General who was the Commission team leader who wrote the “day of” report and delivered it on June 17th, knew about these fighters. In fact, they were quoted in a Bergen (N.J.) Record story on December 5, 2003. But not a word of their airborne presence was brought up at the public hearings and nothing got into the Final Report. How could the 9/11 Commission leave out an act of negligence by FAA and NORAD in not contacting two airborne fighters who were close enough to have interdicted the UA flight before it struck the South Tower? It’s an example of one of the many, many lapses and contradictions in the Commission’s report. I believe that the 9/11 Commissioners intentionally limited the scope of the investigation because, one way or another, they all had conflicts of interest. 32 of the 75 staff members were alumni of the very agencies they were charged with investigating: FBI, CIA, NSA –- or they worked on The Hill on one of the intelligence committees that had failed in its oversight role with respect to 9/11. Douglas MacEachin, who co-wrote at least two of the staff statements dealing with the CIA was deputy director of intelligence for the Agency until 1995. I’ve noted staff director Zelikow’s conflict and that of Dieter Snell. Commissioner Jamie Gorelick was deputy A.G. in 1996 at a time when I contend the Department of Justice engaged in a cover up of the al Qaeda links to TWA #800. She and Zelikow were the only representatives of the Commission (beyond the chair and co chair) who were given FULL access to all of the classified docs. Gorelick, a Democrat, stated in April, 2002 what had become obvious: that the Commission was focusing its investigation on the last few years: from 1998 forward. That serves the Department of Justice’s apparent goal of removing Yousef from the plot since he was in jail by 1996. But the new evidence in Cover Up from the FBI’s own #302 memos shows that Yousef was still able to communicate with active al Qaeda members abroad, including his uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohammed –- in fact, the FBI actually helped him by setting up a phony Mafia front company called “Roma Corp.” to which Yousef was allowed to make outside calls from the MCC. The FBI then patched the calls to Yousef’s cohorts here and abroad. But the genius bomb maker was able to circumvent the Feds. While they apparently had a translator listening in who spoke Arabic, Yousef spoke Urdu, Balochi or one of the six languages he was fluent in. The evidence now suggests that this “pass through” third party calling system set up by the Feds, may have actually facilitated the bombing of TWA #800. 

In your book you state that "Based on two years of extensive research on the growing al Qaeda threat, it seems clear that the invasion of Baghdad was a mistake of catastrophic dimensions." You also state that this is not a political position; it's simply a statement of the facts as they stand today. 

There’s no question about it. Further, by ripping open the country and deposing Saddam, the U.S. has allowed al Qaeda members of infiltrate and link with Baathists and other Islamic extremists they might have spit on prior to the invasion. 

If the best minds in this Administration had sat around in January, 2001 when they first hit the White House and brainstormed for the worst possible policy initiative –- one that would unite the Arab street against the U.S. and one that would put us into an open ended multi-billion dollar protracted occupation with brave Americans and innocent Iraqis dying each day, they could not have picked a better move than the “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq. Which presidential candidate do you think Osama bin Laden is supporting? 

On the morning of 9/11, President Bush was in an elementary school classroom in Sarasota, Florida reading "My Pet Goat." According to your book, the President stated that he didn't make any major decisions about how to respond to the 9/11 attacks until he was in his airborne command center, which would be 50 minutes after being informed that "America is under attack." 
The Terror Timeline by Paul Thompson, foreword by Peter Lance
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The President on another occasion stated that he implemented the government's emergency response plans "immediately following the first attack." Both of these statements can't be true. Did the 9/11 Commission ask President Bush to reconcile those two conflicting statements? 

We don’t know the answer to that because Bush and Cheney talked to the Commissioners behind closed doors in the White House, when they should have been compelled to testify under oath in open session as Condi Rice was forced to do. The fact that two Democrats on the panel, Bob Kerrey the ex-Senator and Congressman Lee Hamilton, the co-chair, bailed early for appointments showed how seriously they took the questioning. Think about it: the 9/11 attack was arguably the worse defense failure in U.S. history and the Commander In Chief, who was effectively incommunicado (and thus unable to issue a shoot down order) was never called into an open session to explain his actions to the American people. If Clinton’s Lewinsky scandal testimony was ultimately made public, why shouldn’t George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, have been compelled by the full Commission to explain their actions on “the day of” in public session and under oath. 

Have we ever gotten an answer as to why President Bush would only testify in private, not under oath and only if Vice President Cheney were there with him? 


Because of the fact that this is an election year -- and a particularly contentious one at that -- the issue of the government's handling of terrorism is a volatile one. As an award-winning journalist, how do you keep clear of the incendiary political implications of this book? Or do you just follow the facts where they lead, regardless of the consequences? 

"Five of the leading widows, 'The Jersey Girls', Kristen Breitweiser, Mindy Kleinberg, Patty Casazza and Lorie van Auken along with Monica Gabrielle of Connecticut, were extremely upset that the Commission failed to assess blame. That was one of their central goals in fighting for the creation of the Commission. Last week the five of them endorsed John Kerry."
I follow the facts where they lead me. My new book is a devastating analysis of a cover up that happened on Clinton’s watch, but two of the principals involved (Caproni and Fitzgerald) are senior Department of Justice officials under George W. Bush. If we are truly to be safe, we have to de-politicize the debate over terrorism. Knowledge is power. If you want to make the right choice in November you simply have to get educated. Terrorism is the new Cold War but it presents complex threats that are distinct from the Mutually Assured Destruction of thermonuclear combat. Ironically, the average citizens may be at greater risk now than at the darkest hours of the U.S.-Soviet struggle. If only 10% of the people that read the 9/11 Report read my “minority report,” in Cover Up I will feel that I have done my job. 

I ask anyone reading this to go to my website and spend a half hour reading the color, illustrated Timeline. It will give them a quick overview of the road to 9/11 and the danger that lies ahead.

**You can read an excerpt from Cover Up: What the Government is Still Hiding About the War on Terror here. 
**You can read an interview with Peter Lance about 1000 Years for Revenge: International Terrorism and the FBI -- The Untold Story here.


Cover Up: What the Government Is Still Hiding About the War on Terror
by Peter Lance
HarperCollins, 2004

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The FBI's Killing Machine

The White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan who ruled Neshoba County, Mississippi, had a nickname for Michael "Mickey" Schwerner, the New York white boy who came down to Meridian that Freedom Summer to register black voters. "Goatee," they called him. Andrew Goodman, another young white man, and James Chaney, a black civil rights worker, were referred to more prosaically, as "outside agitators."

On June 21, 1964, the three young men, members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), had come to nearby Philadelphia, Mississippi, to investigate the Klan burning of Mt. Zion, an African American church. According to evidence presented at a federal trial years later, Edgar Ray Killen, a local preacher and KKK Kleagle, conspired with at least twenty other Klansmen to lie in wait for the three men. Arrested by Cecil Price, the town deputy, for speeding, Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney had been jailed for five hours. Presiding over a Klan meeting that night at the Long Horn Drive-in, Killen purportedly described what should happen to the young men as "elimination." But one of the Klansmen would later testify that Killen's death warrant was less delicate. "He said those . . . civil rights workers were locked up and they needed their rear ends tore up."

Released after midnight, so that two cars full of Klansman could follow their progress undetected, Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney left the Neshoba County Sheriff's office heading north from Philadelphia in a Ford station wagon. They were never seen alive again.

Hiding behind an old warehouse, the two-car Klan convoy, followed by Deputy Price in his patrol car, hung back until Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney cleared the outskirts of town. At that point they gave chase, with one vehicle, a red Chevy, roaring up beside the Ford wagon and attempting to force it off the road. After a pursuit on Highway 19 that topped speeds of one hundred miles an hour, Deputy Price flashed his red light, pulled the Ford over, and ordered the civil rights workers to get out. The three young men complained, holding their hands up when flashlights were pointed in their eyes. They were then driven thirty-four miles away. When the convoy turned off onto a graded clay road, Goodman and the others were ordered out of their cars again, and shot to death where they stood. Their bodies were thrown into the back of their own station wagon and driven to the farm of a wealthy Philadelphia businessman. There they were dumped at the base of an earthen dam while a bulldozer entombed them beneath fifteen feet of red clay.

Their disappearance touched off a firestorm at the Justice Department. Dozens of dark-suited FBI agents were dispatched to Neshoba County in what the Bureau dubbed the MISSBURN case.

As recreated in the 1988 film Mississippi Burning, the agents located the Ford, which had been taken to a local swamp area and burned. But soon the investigation stopped dead. Terrified blacks and protective whites hid that fact that the murders had been the work of twenty-one local men from the Klan Klavern.

In 1964, the FBI may have been hated in Mississippi, but the Klan was feared. At that point the self-described "White Knights" were waging a war of domestic terror throughout the state, perpetrating church bombings, arsons and the beating of black citizens. "Nobody, and I mean nobody, was gonna give up those boys," recalls W. O. Chet Dillard, a Neshoba County judge who had served as district attorney several years later.5 "Old J. Edgar figured that if he was gonna break that thing -- and he was hurtin' to break it -- he was gonna have to go to some extreme measures . . . and he did."

J. Edgar Hoover, the notorious FBI director who for years had denied even the existence of organized crime in America, decided to call on a man who had already earned a position in an elite group inside the Bureau known as TE for "Top Echelon."

Since 1962, Gregory Scarpa Sr. had been living two lives.6 A young Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, cock of the walk, Scarpa was a soldier in the Columbo crime family. But he was also working as a mole, an informant for the FBI.

Years later, Scarpa's boss, Joe Colombo, would tear up the Mafia rule book, which demanded anonymity, and found the Italian American Civil Rights League. It was a very public "Italo-American" advocacy group that regularly picketed FBI offices and staged rallies to denouce the Bureau for "Forever Bothering Italians."

In time, Greg Scarpa would become one of Colombo's flashiest spokesmen. He was also a lucrative earner, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars a month from bookmaking, loan-sharking, credit card fraud, and other racketeering operations. But he had a violent side, bragging that he loved the smell of gunpowder, and punching a Satanic "666" into the beepers of fellow wiseguys each time he made a kill. And yet, on the flip side of his double life, he would sit down at least once a week with Anthony Villano, his Bureau control agent, spilling a host of secrets on the inner workers of what Hoover later dubbed the LCN -- La Cosa Nostra. Soon Scarpa married and had a son, whom he named after himself. But he didn't draw Greg Jr. into the family business until he was a teenager.

Dubbed "the Grim Reaper" and "the Mad Hatter" by his colleagues, Greg Scarpa Sr. became known as a capo who could take a fellow wiseguy to lunch, joke with him over a plate of ziti, and shoot him between the eyes before the check was paid. He had one of his victims hit while he was stringing Christmas lights in front of his wife, and ordered a grave dug for another victim in advance of the whack.

Later, when Joe Columbo was killed in a Columbus Circle rally in 1971, Scarpa became the principal shooter in a war of succession between rival factions of the Columbo family. At first the family was taken over by Carmine "the Snake" Persico. But when Persico went to prison, leadership passed to his son Alphonse, aka "Allie Boy," who was widely perceived as weak. The war that followed was bloody; the result was a series of drive-by shootings and gun battles that played out across Brooklyn and Staten Island between 1991 and 1992. In the end, twelve were dead, including two innocent bystanders, and a third of the victims were murdered by Greg Scarpa Sr. himself.

Interrogation by Razor Blade
Back in 1964, however, when the call came from Hoover, Greg Scarpa Sr. was still just a ruthless young soldati with ice water in his veins. The latter-day historical perception of the case has been shaped by the film Mississippi Burning, in which the kidnapping and triple murder is broken by an African American FBI agent who is flown down to question the town's mayor. But through previously unpublished documents from declassified FBI files, interviews with Neshoba county residents, and other research, for the first time the real story has finally come to light: In truth, it was Greg Scarpa Sr., using his talents as an enforcer, who broke the Goodman/ Schwerner/Chaney case.

Having been authorized by Hoover for what the FBI called the "special," Greg flew with his seventeen-year-old girlfriend, Linda Diana, to Mobile, Alabama, where he was met by FBI agents who gave him a gun. According to biographer Sandra Harmon, who spent months interviewing Linda for a book, Scarpa told her: "I'm going out with these men. If I'm not back, there's a return ticket and here's some money," passing her a folded stack of bills.

Declassified FBI documents and the files of Judge Dillard, who was then Neshoba County DA, show that Scarpa was then driven to Philadelphia, Mississippi, where, with the help of FBI agents, he kidnapped a local politician.

"They took him to an undisclosed location," said Judge Dillard, "and while the agents waited outside, Scarpa started working on the guy. 

Excerpted from Cover Up by Peter Lance. Copyright © 2004 by Peter Lance. All rights reserved. Posted with permission of the publisher. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Dick Cheney’s Last-Gasp Fight Against Clean Air

Whatever his shortcomings, one has to marvel at Vice President Dick Cheney’s persistence.

Years ago, riding high and wide as the administration’s energy czar, Mr. Cheney promised — privately in meetings with corporate contributors, and publicly in his infamous 2001 energy report — to strip the Clean Air Act of an important provision that had driven his friends in the electric power industry to distraction.

So far, he has not succeeded.

Congress has ignored him and the courts have rebuffed him. The Clean Air Act remains (as of now) more or less intact, while the embarrassment to Mr. Cheney has been considerable. (Among other things, his efforts to undermine the law as well as other slights effectively drove Christie Whitman, Mr. Bush’s first administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, into retirement.)

Still he soldiers on, a kind of Don Quixote of environmental de-regulation, and if he has his way, the administration is likely to make one last effort to undermine the law.

The provision in question is called “new source review.” Its basic purpose is to clean up old power plants (and make them more like new power plants) by requiring utilities to install cutting-edge pollution controls every time they upgrade an older plant to produce more power.

Pollution controls cost the utilities big money, which is one reason Mr. Cheney targeted the new source review provision for extinction.

The administration’s first gambit was to propose a change in the regulations to allow utilities to make incremental capital improvements in older plants under the guise of “routine maintenance.” Over time, this would have allowed utilities to completely overhaul an older plant and greatly increase its capacity without installing costly controls. The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit saw through this and struck it down in 2006.

Next, with Mr. Cheney’s tacit support, several utilities filed suit demanding that the government change the way it measures emissions. Under current law, older power plants must install pollution controls whever they make renovations that increase their annual emissions. The companies argued that these emissions should be considered on an hourly basis. This did not fool Judge Richard Posner of the Chicago-based United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, who pointed out that even if hourly emissions remained constant, a renovated plant could be run longer hours, resulting in greater annual emissions.

The Supreme Court later took the same view. But here’s the remarkable thing: Within months of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the EPA went ahead, prodded by Mr. Cheney, and proposed a rule that would make the hourly standard the test. It’s as if Judge Posner and the Supreme Court had never existed. The public comment period has expired and a final rule could be issued at any moment.

The word from inside EPA is that even Stephen Johnson, the agency chief who has routinely done the administration’s bidding, is not eager to water down the Clean Air Act at this late date. And of course an Obama administration could overturn any such rule, and probably would.

But Mr. Cheney sank his teeth into this one seven years ago, and if we’ve learned anything about the outgoing vice president, it is that he is not going to slide gently into political retirement without a few final fusillades at a clean-air regime that, for whatever reason, he is dead-set against.

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  1. 1.November 14, 20083:09 pmLink

    More of a question: What is the power vested in the courts to enable it (us) to stop the EPA proposed change? In other words how is it that the EPA (Cheney) can just ignore the court? Is his ignoring the will of the court an impeachable offense?

    — Craig
  2. 2.November 14, 20084:12 pmLink

    He is an impeachable offense!!

    — Carol
  3. 3.November 14, 20084:27 pmLink

    Cheney recalcitrance is out of place. The sooner that the United States gets smart about making old plants and new plants ‘greener’ the better for our ability to compete in the global economy.

    Sure China and India pay workers less, kill and maim more workers and pollute the atmosphere in with a thoroughness that lots of CEOs of thirty years ago thought was perfect for maximizing profits, but it’s killing them. It’s inefficient because most of it was developed in the U.S. when petroleum was cheap and the pollution from coal and fossil fuels was not taken to be a serious problem. Well, petroleum is getting very expensive and pollution from dirty old style plants is producing so much nasty pollution that it extends to the Western coast of the U.S. The health costs from it are eating up a good 6% of the money they make.

    The smart move for the U.S. is to encourage industries to clean up and to do it such a clever manner that the Chinese and Indian industries will compete to buy our technologies for doing it.

    Sitting tight, collecting profits and doing nothing to change anything is a foolish strategy these days.

    — PolarExpress
  4. 4.November 14, 20084:42 pmLink

    This don’t surprise me about Dick Cheney. Him and George Bush only looked out after them selves plus the super rich and said to hell with the rest of world.

    — Billy
  5. 5.November 14, 20084:50 pmLink

    Let’s hope that the Obama administration overturns every damn rotten, illegal thing accomplished by Dick Cheney during his 8 year war on us.

    That dirty SOB deserves to live his life out in a jail cell for the things he’s done to our poor country and to people all over the world. Dick Cheney, the draft dodging war criminal.

    Instead he’ll retire to live in luxury, making money spreading his ,message of hate and contempt.

    Our country will have to hang its head for a long time to come when the subject of . . . Cheney arises. History will condemn Cheney for the anti-democracy fanatic that he is. History should condemn both houses of Congress as well for letting Cheney get away with what he did.

    — Fred Fawcett
  6. 6.November 14, 20085:18 pmLink

    Yonkers, New York
    14 November 2008

    Yes, vice president Dick (“Rasputin”) Cheney has once more mounted Rosinante and with Don Quixote’s lance, is galloping at full speed and attacking the windmill called “The Clean Air Attack.”

    His can only be a fool’s errand.

    Even if he succeeds in bamboozzling the Federal agency charged with implementing the law, and defying court rulings, he should know that President Barack Obama will have no problem obeying and implementing the Clean Air Act the way it should be done.

    Mariano Patalinjug

    — Mariano Patalinjug
  7. 7.November 14, 20085:30 pmLink

    Cheny aspires to be another Putin. He should be stopped before he gets there. In many ways, he is nothing but a wealthy common criminal
    Jim H.

    — JR Hamill
  8. 8.November 14, 20085:33 pmLink

    Cheney’s backward thinking is recreating the same mess new industry for power companies that it has for America’s car companies. For years Detroit has used it’s political might to avoid the writing on the wall & now they are paying the price for looking to power rather than to the future .. power companies must let this be their lesson.

    Cheney is no visionary merely a scary, mean spirited old man who will shuffle out of his hide-away hole on 20 jan straight into the Haliburton boardroom. He should be shuffling into prison, maybe if we are lucky he’ll travel to Spain and get arrested.

    — tec
  9. 9.November 14, 20085:37 pmLink

    Folks, as anyone working in the pro-environmental policy sector could tell you, this is SOP for Republican administrations, which have been in place for all but 12 years of the EPA’s 38-odd years of existence. When the GOP is in charge and paying attention to what the EPA does (which is most of the time), then the only way to get the EPA to do its job is to sue them to get the rules enacted, then sue them again when they ignore the rules, then sue them again when they try to weasel out of the last court decision with a cosmetic response.

    Pity the (mostly) well-meaning, hard-working EPA staff, they work for a schizoid agency whose defacto agenda for most of its history has been to subvert its own mission.

    — Don

The Chilling Effect – Peter Lance’s PLAYBOY piece on the attempted censorship of TRIPLE CROSS by ex U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald

In 2002 I left the Philippines with a packet of classified intelligence. The material proved that the Al Qaeda bombmaker who exploded a 1,500-pound urea-nitrate device in the World Trade Center in 1993 was the same terrorist who, two years later in Manila, conceived the “planes operation” realized on 9/11.

Four years to the month after I’d left my meeting with an official of the Philippines National Police, I stood outside the Brooklyn Supreme Courthouse as a phalanx of angry ex–FBI agents surrounded the man once known in the bureau as Mr. Organized Crime. Swatting back the press like a mob of soccer hooligans after a losing match, the former agents were protecting R. Lindley DeVecchio, an ex–supervisory special agent who’d been indicted on four counts of murder.

I had covered DeVecchio in my book Cover Up, which a Brooklyn assistant DA had referred to as the “springboard” for their investigation. Now, as he moved down Jay Street, DeVecchio—just released on $1 million bail—shot me a predatory look.

At that point, I was writing a new book about how Al Qaeda met the mob. This book would soon put me in the crosshairs of the ex-agent’s defense team. Not only did I get subpoenaed and threatened with jail if I didn’t cough up my confidential sources, but after the book was published, the most powerful federal prosecutor in the country demanded it be killed.

I’d become the latest target of Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney for Chicago and former special counsel in the CIA leak investigation. I’d raised some questions about his record on counterterrorism, and Fitzgerald, described by a former colleague at Justice as “Eliot Ness with a Harvard degree and a sense of humor,” was not amused.

The man who jailed publishing magnate Conrad Black and got Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich indicted has enjoyed an extraordinary reputation for honesty and integrity, but he’s also used his power to intimidate the media.

The story of how he came gunning for me sheds light on his methods as a prosecutor and calls into question certain decisions he made in the years leading up to 9/11.

The evidence I unearthed stems from Fitzgerald’s tenure in the mid-1990s as co-head of the Organized Crime-Terrorism Unit in the Southern District of New York, the U.S. attorney’s office that turned out Rudolph Guiliani and Louis Freeh.

In 1995, after President Clinton issued Decision Directive 39—a secret order targeting domestic and international terrorism—Fitzgerald was assigned to effectively supervise I-49, the elite bin Laden squad in New York’s FBI office. It would be a career-making position for Fitzgerald, the son of an Irish immigrant doorman.

Fitzgerald soon emerged as the Department of Justice’s leading bin Laden authority. In a February 2006 Vanity Fair profile friends and colleagues described him as a “crusader” with “scary-smart” intelligence and “a mainframe-computer brain.”

As lead prosecutor in United States vs. bin Laden—the African embassy bombing case in 2001—Fitzgerald went on to become the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, a city well-known for political corruption.

During his current tenure Fitzgerald has amassed what a local reporter called “a remarkable string of courtroom victories,” convicting a host of dirty pols and white-collar criminals including former governor George Ryan and Tony Rezko, an early supporter of Barack Obama.

In December 2003 Fitzgerald was tapped to become special counsel in the Valerie Plame investigation. It would be his job to determine who had outed former CIA operative Plame in an effort to punish her husband for alleging the White House had used false intelligence to justify invading Iraq.

Fitzgerald became a hero for the left, with Bush critics certain the dogged prosecutor with the altar boy image would take the probe all the way to presidential aide Karl Rove or Vice President Dick Cheney. People magazine even named Fitzgerald as one of the “Sexiest Men Alive.” But after 45 months and a multimillion-dollar investigation, Fitzgerald convicted only one man of perjury and obstruction. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, got a 30-month term.

However, the sentence was later commuted by President Bush, allowing Libby to avoid jail. In fact, the only person locked up was Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter, who served 85 days for refusing Fitzgerald’s demands that she turn over her confidential sources.

Miller’s jailing seemed draconian when it was later discovered that Fitzgerald had for some time known the identity of the actual leaker: Richard Armitage, a Bush deputy secretary of state. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen referred to the months of drama as “a train wreck—mile after mile of shame, infamy, embarrassment and occasional farce.”

The Wall Street Journal called Fitzgerald “a loose cannon.” Progressive columnists worried about his tactics. “Let’s remember that you and I still don’t know exactly why Miller was ordered by the court to go to jail,” wroteChicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin.

“That’s because the written opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals… contains [eight] blank pages…. [T]he information on those pages has been redacted at the request of U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald…. That level of secrecy in a court ruling has stunned constitutional lawyers.”

Fitzgerald initially went after me in October 2007, 11 months after the publication of my hardcover book. I got a call from Mark Jackson, general counsel for my publisher HarperCollins, who read me a letter he’d just received from Patrick Fitzgerald:

“I write to demand that HarperCollins cease publication, distribution and sale of the current version of [Triple Cross]; issue and publish a clear and unequivocal statement acknowledging that the book contains false statements about me; refrain from publication of any updated version…[and] take no steps to transfer the rights to any other person or entity to publish the book in any form.”

In the letter, Fitzgerald included an attachment requesting that HarperCollins “preserve” 12 separate categories of records, including all “book drafts,” correspondence between me and the publisher and “all records of profits attributable to Triple Cross.”

Black’s Law Dictionary defines a “chilling effect” as a “situation where speech or conduct is suppressed by fear of penalization at the interests of an individual.” Naturally, the level of fear depends on where the threat comes from. When I first got that call, even though I knew my research was bulletproof and Fitzgerald didn’t have a case, the news was, to put it mildly, disturbing.

Fitzgerald had not only succeeded in having a judge jail a reporter for the most influential newspaper in the country, but he’d succeeded in getting her cell phone records in another case. He had 161 lawyers under his command. Although he framed this as a personal complaint, my charges against him related directly to his work for the U.S. Department of Justice. During the next 20 months, he proceeded to send the legal department at HarperCollins 32 pages of threatening letters. In his most recent letter, sent June 2, 2009, he made his intentions clear:

“To put it plain and simple,” he wrote, “if, in fact, you publish the book this month and it defames me or casts me in a false light, HarperCollins will be sued.”

For copies of all four of Fitzgerald’s threat letters and HarperCollins initial response rejecting his claim click here 

My book was the first in-depth attempt by a journalist to audit the two principal offices that investigated bin Laden: the SDNY (where Fitzgerald supervised terrorism and mob cases) and the FBI’s New York office (where he developed cases with the bin Laden Squad). It argued that Fitzgerald had been outmaneuvered for years by Al Qaeda’s top spy, Ali Mohamed, and told how he’d discredited a wealth of evidence that might have alerted other agencies to Al Qaeda years before 9/11.

In response to Fitzgerald’s letter, HarperCollins attorney Jackson wrote back, “We stand behind Mr. Lance and intend to go forward with the publication of the updated trade paperback edition of the book, which we regard as an important work of investigative journalism.”

But the U.S. attorney was not satisfied. On November 16, 2007 he sent a second letter demanding that the book be pulped. This time, as if to send a message, it was faxed from the office of the “U.S. Attorney Chicago.”

Last week Newsweek ran a story on Fitzgerald’s threat to sue. In it the U.S. attorney said that he was “not aware” that the “time stamp” on the letter would be visible. But Jan Schlichtmann, the tort lawyer celebrated in the book and film A Civil Action, disagrees. “In my opinion, this was a calculated move by perhaps the most powerful prosecutor in America, designed to intimidate Peter Lance’s publisher.”

In order to mount a successful claim for libel, Fitzgerald would have to prove not only that the statement was false, but that it was written with malice, defined by the Supreme Court in New York Times vs. Sullivan as “reckless disregard for the truth.”

Triple Cross ran 604 pages in hardcover. It had 85 pages of appendixes and supporting documents—including 1,420 end notes. Virtually every factual allegation was annotated.

There were multiple citations from the five terror trials prosecuted by Patrick Fitzgerald’s own Southern District office. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald has succeeded in holding up the paperback’s publication for more than 20 months.

My reporting established that agents of the FBI’s elite Joint Terrorism Task Force had blown multiple chances to stop Ramzi Yousef in the fall of 1992 as he built an urea-nitrate bomb in Jersey City. On February 26, 1993 Yousef set off the bomb in the B-2 parking level beneath the Twin Towers, killing six and injuring 1,000.

After escaping New York that evening, Yousef ultimately made his way to Manila, where he hatched three plots with his Al Qaeda cell: a plan to kill Pope John Paul II during a 1995 visit to the Philippines, the so-called Bojinka plot in which small improvised explosive devices would be placed aboard a dozen U.S. jumbo jets exiting Asia and the “planes operation” in which airliners would be used as suicide bombs in the U.S.

“ The SDNY had more than five years’ prior warning of Ramzi Yousef’s hijacking scenario. ”

Back on my trip in 2002 I’d received classified evidence about Yousef’s Manila plans from Colonel Rodolfo B. Mendoza of the Philippines National Police. I was shocked to find that Mendoza had sent the same intel in 1995 to the U.S. embassy in Manila, where it was forwarded to prosecutors in the Southern District.

I had traced the chain of custody, interviewing the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent who picked up the intel from Mendoza at Camp Crame in Manila and stood by as the FBI legal attaché at the U.S. embassy sent it to the SDNY. The agent confirmed an earlier account he’d given that Mike Garcia and Dietrich Snell, the assistant U.S. attorneys who later prosecuted Yousef, “almost certainly had access to the materials.” By December 1995 Garcia and Snell were working directly under Patrick Fitzgerald.

In short, the SDNY had more than five years’ prior warning of Ramzi Yousef’s hijacking scenario.

My findings created such a stir that Chairman Thomas Kean asked me to testify before the 9/11 Commission.

But when I came to present the evidence I’d received from Mendoza, the senior counsel assigned to interview me was Dietrich Snell, the ex-SDNY prosecutor who should have had access to Mendoza’s intelligence warning.

As I saw it, Snell should have been a witness before the commission, not one of its senior counsels. On March 15, 2004 he led me into a windowless conference room at 26 Federal Plaza, the commission’s New York office. There was no stenographer present and no recording equipment.

Nevertheless, I testified to what I’d learned from Mendoza: In early 1995, after a fire in their Manila apartment, Yousef and his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had escaped to Pakistan. But a third member of their cell, Abdul Hakim Murad, had been caught. Mendoza learned that Murad was a commercial pilot trained at four U.S. flight schools. Murad also stated he was more than willing to die at the controls as part of the suicide hijacking plot. At that point, Yousef and KSM had chosen seven targets: the WTC, the Pentagon, the White House, CIA headquarters, the Sears and Transamerica towers and a nuclear facility.

I couldn’t help but feel that Snell seemed to have an agenda as he took notes on my testimony. A source inside the commission staff later revealed to me that Snell and other investigators were working on a scenario that took Ramzi Yousef out of the plot.

Why would they do that? Here’s my theory: Confirming Yousef’s involvement would raise questions about whether the SDNY and FBI had been tipped off to the plot in 1995. They might also be held accountable for failing to stop him in 1992 as the Al Qaeda bombmaker plotted the first WTC attack.

In the end Snell reduced my testimony to a single footnote in the commission’s final report. Ignoring Mendoza’s findings, he cited a meeting between Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden in 1996—a date after Yousef’s arrest—as the genesis of the 9/11 plot. Most important: Snell’s sole authority for this rewrite of history was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who Snell, per the 9/11 Report, claimed had confessed after his capture.

To me, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was completely unreliable, particularly since he had been waterboarded 183 times in March 2003. (Recently, Robert Windrem published the results of his exhaustive study of the 9/11 Commission Report. Windrem showed that an astonishing 25 percent of the end notes documenting the commission’s findings were derived from the testimony of prisoners who had been subjected to torture such as water boarding.)

But in spring 1996, KSM was still on the loose, working to execute Yousef’s plot. Meanwhile, Yousef and Murad had been rendered back to the SDNY for the Bojinka trial. One of the prosecutors assigned to the case was Dietrich Snell, then working directly under Patrick Fitzgerald.

Yousef and Murad were housed on the ninth floor of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. That’s where events began to unfold that led to a crucial Fitzgerald decision. Adjacent to their cells was Gregory Scarpa Jr., the son of a notorious capo for the Colombo crime family.

Though Greg Jr. was a mid-level wiseguy, his father had been jailed for only 30 days in a 30-year career of murder and racketeering. Why? Because in the early 1960s the elder Scarpa had become a Top Echelon informant for the FBI. It’s not surprising that Greg Jr. figured he could rat out these two terrorists and help his cause when he came up on RICO charges.

After Yousef and Murad removed bed struts from the walls of their cells they began passing notes, known as kites, through Greg Jr., who acted as middleman. Among the kites was a protocol for a Bojinka-like plot entitled “How to Smuggle Explosives Into an Airplane.” (Many of the notes and the FBI 302 memos that describe them can be accessed here.)

Scarpa Jr. also retrieved a schematic from Yousef that showed how a Casio DBC-61 Databank watch could be soldered into a C106D semi-conductor.  That schematic matched copies of a Casio IED recovered from Yousef’s Manila apartment. In August 1996 the C106D was described at the Bojinka trial as Yousef’s “signature,” but in the spring of 1996 nobody outside the FBI or the SDNY prosecutor’s office had access to those details.

The FBI was impressed. They gave Greg Jr. a camera to photograph the notes. Eventually they set up a phony Mafia front company called Roma Corp. Convincing Yousef that Roma was manned by wiseguys, Scarpa Jr. encouraged him to call it from the pay phone on the ninth floor of the MCC. That way, the purported mobsters could patch him through to his people in New York and the Middle East. Instead of mafiosi, of course, the feds had special agents on the phone who tracked each call.

It was around this time that the feds recorded one international call by Yousef from the jail, in which he asked to speak to “Khalid.” The number was traced to Doha, Qatar, and the bureau rushed its Hostage Rescue Team there only to have KSM disappear with the help of a senior Qatari official. It was KSM’s second escape from the FBI and he was free once again to carry out his nephew Ramzi’s plot.

Over the course of 11 months, Greg Jr.’s Yousef sting yielded an amazing amount of intelligence—including proof of an active Al Qaeda cell in New York City and a plot to hijack planes to free blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman from federal lockup. That last piece of intelligence was significant enough that, although qualified as unverified, it later showed up in the infamous Presidential Daily Briefing to President Bush weeks before 9/11, headlined “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S.

The revelation about an active Al Qaeda cell should have rocked the corridors of the FBI’s New York office. Why? Because after Fitzgerald’s conviction of Sheikh Omar in 1995, the conventional wisdom of the feds had been that they had eliminated the Islamic terror threat to New York.

Before his arrest, Scarpa Jr. ran a marijuana syndicate on Staten Island. In jail, his proximity to the terrorists, his skills as a Mafia con man and his audacious willingness to work for the feds (like his murderous father) made him the perfect spy. Documented in dozens of FBI 302 memos, his reports became known as “the Scarpa materials.”

One 302 recounted how, for a payment of $2,500, Yousef was willing to set up a meeting “between one of [Yousef’s] people and one of Scarpa’s people [FBI] on the outside.” Such a meeting would have given the FBI a chance to penetrate a U.S.-based Al Qaeda cell linked to bin Laden and KSM five years before the 9/11 attacks.

“These 302s had extraordinary potential intelligence value to other agencies like the CIA and DIA,” said Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer. A Bronze Star recipient, Shaffer was a key official in Able Danger, the U.S. Army’s top-secret data-mining operation, in 2000. “After we found similar links between the blind sheikh’s New York cell, this intel might have helped us connect some major dots in the years leading up to 9/11.”

Who was privy to the Scarpa Jr. sting? Patrick Fitzgerald and a host of FBI and Justice Department officials. The 302 of March 7, 1996 documents how Greg Jr. was interviewed by Dietrich Snell, Valerie Caproni (chief of the criminal division in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York) and Fitzgerald.

“That information from Greg Jr. was clearly credible,” said Scarpa Jr.’s former lawyer Larry Silverman, himself an ex-EDNY prosecutor. “I first heard the name Osama bin Laden from Greg Jr. after Yousef told him that name. And I want to emphasize that this information came forth in stages. That proves it was credible. If at any point the information was inaccurate, the government would have pulled the plug.”

Did the FBI ever act on Yousef’s offer to meet his cell members? Did the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency ever see those Yousef-to-Scarpa Jr. kites or the two-inch-thick pile of FBI 302s? It’s unlikely, because by late summer 1996 the feds were moving into containment mode.

As I see it, the Justice Department officials came to believe that if the younger Scarpa was found credible in his sting of Yousef, he’d be credible when he testified about the alleged corrupt relationship between his father and R. Lindley DeVecchio.

A senior FBI agent, DeVecchio was under investigation by the bureau for allegedly feeding information about organized crime to Scarpa Sr.

In the early 1990s, the suspected leaks to Scarpa had contributed to what became known as “the Colombo war.” The intra-family struggle left 10 people dead. A federal judge had warned that more than 60 Mafia prosecutions in the EDNY had the potential to “unravel” if the Scarpa Sr.-DeVecchio scandal continued to fester.

The feds turned their back on Scarpa Jr., actually taking the position that the intelligence documented in those 11 months of 302s was fabricated.

Patrick Fitzgerald was a leading proponent of this assertion. In a June 25, 1999 Affirmation that I’d gotten unsealed, he swore that “Scarpa’s effort at ‘cooperation’ was a scam in collusion with Yousef and others.”

Fitzgerald’s principal authority for his theory was John Napoli, a Gambino family wiseguy who arrived on the ninth floor of the MCC in December 1996.

But when I interviewed Napoli from his Texas prison in 2006 he denied he’d ever called the Scarpa materials a fabrication: “As far as my personally being there, hearing it, seeing it—anything that Yousef gave Greg wasn’t a scam,” said Napoli. “It wasn’t a hoax. He wasn’t trying to do anything with Ramzi against the government. He was legitimately trying to help them. He was giving them information.”

Fitzgerald alleged collusion between the wiseguy and the terrorist, but he offered no explanation for why Yousef, then on trial, would knowingly reveal his secrets to the feds. Or how Scarpa Jr., a mobster with a 10th-grade education, could concoct such elaborate bomb schematics.

It didn’t seem to matter. By 1997 the hoax story stuck. When Greg Jr. sought reduced time a year later in return for his Yousef sting, the feds threw the book at him. The judge in his RICO trial sentenced Junior to 40 years in the Supermax prison even though he hadn’t been convicted of a single murder.

The FBI closed its two-year investigation of Lin DeVecchio and let him retire with a full pension (despite the fact that the ex-supervisory special agent had taken the Fifth Amendment, refused a polygraph and later, after a grant of immunity, answered “I don’t recall” more than 60 times when questioned on charges that he had leaked FBI intel to Scarpa Sr.).

The Brooklyn DA eventually indicted DeVecchio on four counts of homicide, leading to the mob scene outside the Brooklyn Supreme Courthouse in 2006. Following a two-week trial in the fall of 2007, the charges were dropped when a key witness was accused of perjury.

Still, the presiding judge called DeVecchio’s relationship with Greg Sr.  a “deal with the devil.”

Leslie Crocker-Snyder, a special DA appointed to investigate, concluded that there was no perjury. She also found that the alliance between the  G-man and the hitman exposed “a dramatic picture of corruption” that “warrants further investigation.”

As I describe in Triple Cross, Patrick Fitzgerald had gone along with a decision by the feds to discredit important Al Qaeda intelligence. But here’s the irony: The Twin Towers might still be standing if the feds had monitored an Al Qaeda hot spot in New Jersey. During the 1980s and early 1990s the “top investigative priority” in the FBI’s New York office was taking down mob boss John Gotti. The probe cost millions. But, following three failed conviction attempts, the feds finally brought down the Teflon Don with their around-the-clock surveillance of his Little Italy social club.

Meanwhile, across the Hudson River in Jersey City an Al Qaeda hot spot called Sphinx Trading went virtually ignored. A check-cashing and mailbox store, Sphinx pops up three times in the story of 9/11:

As early as 1991, the FBI had known that Sphinx was the location of a mailbox held by El Sayyid Nosair, an Al Qaeda cell member who had gunned down Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990. While preparing to prosecute Sheikh Omar Rahman in 1994, Fitzgerald put Waleed al-Noor, the co-incorporator of Sphinx, on a list of 172 unindicted co-conspirators (Osama bin Laden was also among them).

In fact, Rahman preached at a mosque in a building just a few doors down from the store. And in July 2001, two of the 19 9/11 hijackers obtained their fake IDs from Mohammed El-Attris, the other co-incorporator of Sphinx Trading (where the pair rented mailboxes). They contained a bogus Lexington Avenue address.

In the face of the evidence, you have to ask whether the feds could have interdicted the 9/11 plot if they’d devoted half the surveillance time they’d   put in on John Gotti to the building on Kennedy Boulevard that once housed “the Jersey jihad office.”

In September 2008, with a third letter to HarperCollins, Fitzgerald amped up the pressure to make sure my book would never appear in paperback: “I write to demand immediate compliance with my demands of October 2007,” he insisted. “Surely HarperCollins can make a decision in a year.” Months later, the publisher did. HarperCollins came down on the side of the First Amendment and an investigative reporter’s right to tell a story, no matter how embarrassing a public official might find it. The updated edition of Triple Cross is due on June 16. Only time will tell if Fitzgerald will make good on his threat and file a libel claim.

“ Only time will tell if Fitzgerald will make good on his threat and file a libel claim. ”

While nobody invites litigation, I look forward to sitting across a table from Mr. Fitzgerald at a deposition. It would give me a chance to grill him the same way he’s gone after many others. I have a reporter’s notebook full of questions:

Why did Al Qaeda master spy Ali Mohamed outmaneuver him for so many years?

Why did Fitzgerald discredit the intelligence from Greg Scarpa’s Yousef sting? And why did the feds seem to ignore Sphinx Trading?

There’s no doubt the crusader with scary-smart intelligence can dish it out. The question is, when confronted with his own track record, can he take it?

About the Author

A five-time Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and former correspondent for ABC News, Peter Lance is the author of 1000 Years for Revenge, Cover Up and the novel First Degree Burn. Buy the new paperback edition of Triple Cross at

One Response to The Chilling Effect – Peter Lance’s PLAYBOY piece on the attempted censorship of TRIPLE CROSS by ex U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald

  1. James PoeReply

    June 20, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Great Work! Keep up the good fight, Fitzgerald’s behavior is indicative of the fed’s mindset,we are always right, and if you get in our way we will step on you. It is critical that someone watches the watchers. If you want to see some more flawed behavior of the FBI check out the history of the FBI vs. T. C. Poe in Oklahoma City.

Who’s Afraid of Dick Cheney?

March 17, 2008

Vice President Dick Cheney’s arrival in the Middle East has prompted some to speculate that this is a sure sign that President Bush is preparing to launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Others have reached a similar conclusion from the firing of Admiral William Fallon has head of Central Command. Such speculation is not hard to understand given Cheney’s previous role as hand-holder to the region’s pro-U.S. Arab regimes whenever the Bush Administration is about to embark on one of its catastrophic schemes to remake the Middle East by force — he did the rounds before the Iraq war, and before and after Israel’s disastrous campaign (at the urging of the U.S.) to eliminate Hizballah in the summer of 2006. And Cheney is nothing if not the champion of the testosterone-addled-teenage mindset in Washington that sees military force as the answer to complex challenges, and has certainly been lobbying for a showdown with Iran.

But to put Cheney’s tough talk and saber-rattling in context, I’d suggest those worried that he means business watch the YouTube clip above, taken from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which the Black Knight refuses to let King Arthur pass, and continues to issue bloodcurdling threats even as the English king lops off his limbs. The Black Knight hopping about on one leg screaming “I am invincible!” is an apt analogy for Dick Cheney threatening Iran, right now.