New Book Describes Expansion of Powers of Executive Branch

The Washington Post reports on a new book which demonstrates how Dick Cheney sought to increase power for the Executive Branch (despite his indecision as to which branch he was in).  While echoing concerns of liberals and Democrats, the Washington Post notes the author’s conservative views. “Now a professor at Harvard Law School, Goldsmith, 44, described himself in the book as ‘a conservative and a Republican’ who became troubled by what he saw as imprudent overreaching by the White House…”

Vice President Cheney’s top lawyer pushed relentlessly to expand the powers of the executive branch and repeatedly derailed efforts to obtain congressional approval for aggressive anti-terrorism policies for fear that even a Republican majority might say no, according to a new book written by a former senior Justice Department official.

David S. Addington, who is now Cheney’s chief of staff, viewed both U.S. lawmakers and overseas allies with “hostility” and repeatedly opposed efforts by other administration lawyers to soften counterterrorism policies or seek outside support, according to Jack L. Goldsmith, who frequently clashed with Addington while serving as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 and 2004.

“We’re going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop,” Addington said at one point, according to Goldsmith.

Addington, who declined comment yesterday through Cheney’s office, is a central player in Goldsmith’s new book, “The Terror Presidency.” It provides an unusual glimpse of fierce internal dissent over the legal opinions behind some of the Bush administration’s most controversial tactics in detaining and interrogating terrorism suspects.

“As I absorbed the opinions, I concluded that some were deeply flawed: sloppily reasoned, overbroad, and incautious in asserting extraordinary constitutional authorities on behalf of the President,” Goldsmith writes, referring to Justice Department memoranda issued in the two years following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “I was astonished, and immensely worried, to discover that some of our most important counterterrorism policies rested on severely damaged legal foundations.”

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