It’s David Addington, Dick Cheney’s new chief of staff, who has been instrumental in fashioning legal arguments to support presidential-sanctioned torture, the attempt to discredit Joe Wilson, and the bogus Niger uranium story. U.S. News has the goods in this fantastic profile.
Sickened by those “signing statements” that Bush uses to essentially ignore the laws Congress has passed? Addington has his fingerprints all over those.
U.S. News & World Report:
... [I]t is a largely anonymous government lawyer, who now serves as Cheney’s chief of staff, who has served as the ramrod driving the Bush administration’s most secretive and controversial counterterrorism measures through the bureaucracy. David Addington was a key advocate of the Brown v. Board and more than 750 other signing statements the administration has issued since taking office—a record that far outstrips that of any other president.
The signing statements are just one tool that Addington and a small cadre of ultraconservative lawyers at the heart of the Bush administration are employing to prosecute the war on terrorism. Little known outside the West Wing and the inner sanctums of the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department, Addington is a genial colleague who also possesses an explosive temper that he does not hesitate to direct at those who oppose him. Addington, says an admiring former White House official, is “the most powerful person no one has never heard of.”
Name one significant action taken by the Bush White House after 9/11, and chances are better than even that Addington had a role in it. So ubiquitous is he that one Justice Department lawyer calls Addington “Adam Smith’s invisible hand” in national security matters. The White House assertion—later proved false—that Saddam Hussein tried to buy nuclear precursors from Niger to advance a banned weapons program? Addington helped vet that. The effort to discredit a former ambassador who publicly dismissed the Niger claim as baseless, by disclosing the name of his wife, a covert CIA officer? Addington was right in the middle of that, too, though he has not been accused of wrongdoing.
David Addington, chief of staff to Dick Cheney, has been more responsible than perhaps any other member of the Bush White House for crafting the theory of the “unitary executive,” which holds that Congress has limited power to keep the executive (the president) in check.