Vice President Cheney has joined Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and Alberto Gonzales in what has become a pandemic outbreak of memory loss amongst members of the Bush Administration. A New York Times story recently fingered Cheney as the one who sent Gonzo to John Ashcroft's hospital room. The exchange between CNN talkshow host Larry King and Vice President Cheney went as follows:
Q In that regard, The New York Times -- which, as you said, is not your favorite -- reports it was you who dispatched Gonzales and Andy Card to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft's hospital in 2004 to push Ashcroft to certify the President's intelligence-gathering program. Was it you?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't recall -- first of all, I haven't seen the story. And I don't recall that I gave instructions to that effect.
Q That would be something you would recall.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I would think so. But certainly I was involved because I was a big advocate of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, and had been responsible and working with General Hayden and George Tenet to get it to the President for approval. By the time this occurred, it had already been approved about 12 times by the Department of Justice. There was nothing new about it.
Q So you didn't send them to get permission.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't recall that I was the one who sent them to the hospital.
If we analyze the Vice President's response I believe that the answer to Mr. King's question becomes quite clear.
Cheney's first answer:
I don't recall -- first of all, I haven't seen the story. And I don't recall that I gave instructions to that effect.
Whether he read the story has nothing to do with either his memory or whether the story is truthful. It is evident that he was stalling for time so he could get his answer straight.
The second part of his answer is extremely restrictive. Ecessively restrictive or excessively broad answers are designed to give the liar wiggle room if the truth is eventually uncovered. He can later backtrack by saying that while he sent them to the hospital room, he didn't give specific instructions as to what they were to say upon arrival. It's commonly referred to as a "liar's back door." No matter what is ultimately revealed, he leaves himself a way out.
His Second answer:
Mr. King assertively pointed out the absurdity of his claim that he didn't remember by saying "That would be something you would recall".
Cheney answered by acknowledging that it is not reasonable to believe that anyone would forget something so critical when he replied "I would think so. But certainly I was involved". This is, in effect, an admission that he is lying and an attempt to salvage whatever is left of his credibility by acknowledging that he will at least admit that he was involved. Mr. King asserted his belief that anyone would remember this incident clearly, then tellingly, Vice President Cheney concurs with King's assertion. In acknowledging his concurrence with King's assertion, he unwittingly confesses to lying.
The rest of his response is interesting in that he defends the hospital trip by saying "By the time this occurred, it had already been approved about 12 times by the Department of Justice. There was nothing new about it." While refusing to openly acknowledge that he was the person who sent Gonzales to Ashcroft's room, he conspicuously defends the person who did by inferring that the program had already been approved many times over and Ashcroft's approval was irrelevant.
His last answer:
"I don't recall that I was the one who sent them to the hospital"
I suggest that Mr. Cheney's subconscious mind is confessing for him. No innocent party would word a denial in that manner. A normal denial consists of addressing innocence. This denial clearly contains the words necessary for a complete confession.
It is increasingly clear why the President can not allow any of his subordinates to testify before Congress.