This is regarding the civil suit that Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame have brought against Dick Cheney for violation of privacy and ruining Plame's career.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates asked: "So you're arguing there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- these officials could have said to reporters that would have been beyond the scope of their employment," whether the statements were true or false?
"That's true, Your Honor. Mr. Wilson was criticizing government policy," said Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil division. "These officials were responding to that criticism."
The implication here in what the defense is saying is that the Vice President can say anything--anything at all--about any citizen if that citizen criticizes current policy. For example, if John Doe said he thought Bush and Cheney should be impeached for their consistent and ongoing [insert any number of examples here], Cheney could come out and call John Doe a child molester who funds terrorism with stolen pension checks from old Army widows. And the Defense in this case is arguing that that would be part of a normal "policy dispute" in line with the normal duties of the Vice President. And therefore the Vice President would not be liable for any damage caused to John Doe's career, reputation, or life.
Talk about un-American. This is about as un-American as it gets. This is totalitarianism at its most bald-faced, unapologetic extreme. The idea that the top policymakers in the United States can essentially ruin anyone without consequences simply because that person disagreed with their policies is... well... chilling.
Almost makes me wish Pat Robertson had won the Republican nomination in 2000.