After Vice President Cheney’s office refused to follow a presidential order on classification procedures, National Archives official J. William Leonard asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to have the Office of Legal Counsel help solve the impasse. Justice Dept. officials said last week that the matter has been “under review” for five months. But it appears that’s not the case:
[O]n June 4, an OLC lawyer denied a Freedom of Information Act request about the Cheney dispute asserting that OLC had “no documents” on the matter… Steve Aftergood, the Federation of American Scientists researcher who filed the request, said he found the denial letter “puzzling and inexplicable” — especially since Leonard had copied OLC chief Steve Bradbury on his original letter to Gonzales. The FOIA response has piqued the interest of congressional investigators, who note Bradbury is the same official in charge of vetting all document requests from Congress about the U.S. attorneys flap. Asked about the apparent discrepancy, Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the OLC response “was and remains accurate” because Leonard’s letter had generated no “substantive work product.”
House oversight chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) now says he will investigate Gonzales’ handling of the issue.