In First Batch of Released Cheney Papers, a Peek at a Polarizing Figure

New York Times, By Peter Baker, June 19

Washington — In February 2008, an aide sent a news article to Vice President Dick Cheney reporting that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell might vote for a Democrat for president. Sections were highlighted in yellow, and someone had circled a quotation from Mr. Powell in which he said America had lost “a lot” of prestige around the world.

Mr. Cheney recorded no reaction, but one can imagine some consternation at what the vice president presumably deemed disloyalty to the administration that both of them had served. Mr. Powell had been the vice president’s chief internal adversary during President George W. Bush’s first term and had grown disaffected. An aide clearly understood that Mr. Cheney would want to know the latest.

The article was among a batch of documents from Mr. Cheney’s files that was released on Friday by the National Archives and Records Administration [336-page PDF] in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act. More than six years after Mr. Cheney left office, the files were the first made public by the archives about a figure who still generates considerable public interest and debate.

The documents are limited in scope and contain no major revelations about the issues that dominated the era, like Iraq and terrorism. The papers are mainly memos, fact sheets and news articles sent to him in 2006, around the time of the hunting accident in which he shot a fellow hunter on a Texas ranch. But they offer a small glimpse into Mr. Cheney’s time in office.


In addition to the documents, the archives released hundreds of behind-the-scenes pictures of Mr. Cheney taken by White House photographers, many of them with his adviser David Addington.


Mr. Cheney’s staff also thought he might be interested in an article about Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, who had called the vice president a name. In the article, Mr. Rangel said he regretted it — sort of. “He is a son of a bitch,” Mr. Rangel was quoted as saying, “but I shouldn’t have said it.”

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