We already knew Dick Cheney picked himself as Vice President and shot a man in the face. We already knew Cheney called a secret meeting with energy lobbyists before gas skyrocketed to $4 a gallon. We already knew Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis Libby was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and for making false statements during the investigation of Plame-gate. We already knew Cheney considers himself a fourth branch of the government for purposes of keeping secrets. But here are still further facts about Cheney gleaned from Bart Gellman's book Angler:
- In a private meeting with Texas Rep. Dick Armey, a stalwart conservative who nonetheless opposed going to war with Iraq, Cheney puts the screws to him. "In the privacy of his office, for this one crucial vote, Cheney leveled claims he had not made before and did not make again. Two of them crossed so far beyond the known universe of fact that they were simply without foundation.
The vice president brought the disquieting news that Iraq's "ability to miniaturize weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear," had been "substantially refined since the first Gulf War," Armey recalled ... According to Armey, Cheney also reported that al Qaeda was "working with Saddam Hussein and members of his family."
- Cheney lobbied for the invasion of Iraq not because he thought it was the most dangerous threat to the United States, but rather because he thought a victory there would be the best way to demonstrate American military power. "The United States would take [Saddam] down because it could. The war would not preempt immediate danger, a more traditional ground for war, but prevent a danger that might emerge later," writes Gellman. One of Cheney's advisors referred to this as the "demonstration effect."
- Cheney and his legal counsel, David Addington, effectively steer White House policy on the warrantless wiretapping program. "With Bush's consent , Cheney unleashed foreign intelligence agencies to spy at home ... It is unlikely that the history of U.S. intelligence includes another operation conceived and supervised by the office of the vice president." When the Deputy Attorney General refuses to re-authorize the program, the stubbornness of Cheney and his team almost leads to mass resignations at the Justice Department.