Strolling around the web recently, I was reminded of the controversy over Vice President Cheney’s secret task force of energy industry executives in creating the Bush administration energy policy early in 2001. If memory serves, that task force included no representatives from environmental organizations.
Various journalists and interest groups sued to discover which executives met with Mr. Cheney. Eventually, a federal appeals court ruled that Cheney is not required to disclose the names (a decision that, to me, is questionable in a democracy). According to reports, some of the recommendations from the energy executives were included in the final policy word-for-word.
There are many things a government should keep under wraps. Certainly that would include anything that could jeopardize the safety of military troops, details related to negotiations with foreign governments until a accord is reached and in a post-9/11 world, anything related to security measures that safeguard the country from attack.
But names of executives who, apparently, dictated their corporate desires to the government without balanced consideration from people whose concerns go beyond corporate profits? This task force was conducted within a month of President Bush's first inauguration and in hindsight would seem to have been a signal pointing to the day-to-day conduct of this administration that we should have paid attention to.
So, as Jack Cafferty on CNN’s Situation Room would put it, here’s the question:
Can you think of a reasonable explanation for the vice president to fight so hard to keep secret the names of the energy executives who helped develop the energy policy of the Bush administration?