from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 125
December 13, 2012

Secrecy News Blog:


In the George W. Bush Administration, Vice President Dick Cheney advanced the idea that the Office of the Vice President is not part of the executive branch, and that it was therefore exempt from the sort of oversight mechanisms -- including classification oversight -- which it might otherwise be (and previously was in fact) subject to.

Somewhat unexpectedly, this conception of a Vice Presidency that transcends the three branches of government reappears in the 2012 edition of the Plum Book, an official publication which lists thousands of employment positions for appointees within the federal government and which is published every four years.

"The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter," the new 2012 Plum Book states in Appendix No. 5, reproducing identical language from the 2008 Plum Book.

This language was first introduced in 2004, when that year's Plum Book also stopped listing most of the previously identified staff positions in the Office of Vice President, with the exception of the Chief of Staff (I. Lewis Libby) and one other assistant.

By 2008, even those two staff listings had been deleted from the Plum Book as the Office of the Vice President retreated into further concealment.

However, while replicating the language of Cheneyism, the latest Plum Book restores the deleted coverage of the Office of Vice President.

Thirteen current OVP positions are now listed. And the Office of the Vice President appears -- as it did prior to the Bush Administration -- under the heading of the Executive Branch.


New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made publicly available include the following.

The 2010 Census: Count Question Resolution Program, December 7, 2012:

An Analysis of STEM Education Funding at the NSF: Trends and Policy Discussion, December 12, 2012:

Value-Added Modeling for Teacher Effectiveness, December 11, 2012:

Teacher Quality Issues in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, December 10, 2012:

U.S. Farm Income, December 10, 2012:

The National Flood Insurance Program: Status and Remaining Issues for Congress, December 10, 2012:

Department of Defense Energy Initiatives: Background and Issues for Congress, Decembr 10, 2012:

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, December 10, 2012:

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, December 10, 2012:

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress, December 10, 2012:

Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress, December 10, 2012:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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