The Specter Letter II: Cheney Responds
Vice President Cheney has responded to Senator's Specter's letter with a missive of his own, in which he called his lobbying of Judiciary Committee Republicans "government at work" and "not unusual." Cheney added "The respectful and candid exchange of views is something to be encouraged rather than avoided." That is true, and had that been what Cheney was doing, I'd agree with him.
The Veep's letter went on to say "While there may continue to be areas of disagreement from time to time, we should proceed in a practical way to build on the areas of agreement," and said that he is "willing to work with Congress on new rules governing the White House's eavesdropping program," according to an AP report.
Reuters notes that Cheney and Specter spoke on the phone this afternoon to discuss the issues brought up in Specter's letter, and CNN reported earlier this evening that Cheney also arranged a phone call between Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the irate chairman.
Most importantly, however (as Knight Ridder's write-up notes) Cheney's letter maintains "the administration believes there is no need for legislation to carry out the Terrorist Surveillance Program." Neither Specter nor any of the rest of us should believe for an instant that this Administration intends to become open and honest on these issues anytime soon. Senator Specter and the Judiciary Committee need to keep up (and increase) the pressure on this Administration to ensure that action is taken, instead of just platitudes exchanged.