Why has Dick Cheney been on the press circuit for a week, bragging about his involvement in waterboarding suspect terrorists, snooping into the correspondence and phone calls of millions of Americans, and making blood-curdling statements about tyrannical power that are, as Bart Gellman correctly notes, “even more radical than Nixon’s”? Could it be that he’s been promised a pardon for Christmas? At today’s press gathering, White House spokesman Tony Fratto was quick to alert the media to be prepared for more pardons. Nineteen further pardons were issued this afternoon, but more are on the way, and presidents since George Washington have saved their most controversial pardons for their last day in office.
What, exactly, did Dick Cheney do that needs pardoning? Well, there’s plenty besides the torture, the snooping, and the murky Halliburton dealings in Nigeria. Murray Waas has a remarkable scoop that may go overlooked in the holiday flurry: he offers up tidbits from the notes of FBI agents who interviewed Cheney in connection with Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe into the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. The bottom line—Dick Cheney played a central role in the process, and he’s still got plenty to be worried about.