“I believe in a strong, robust executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it,” Mr. Cheney said in December on a flight from Pakistan to Oman. “You know,” he added, “it’s not an accident that we haven’t been hit in four years.”
But as the nation observes the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Cheney finds the powers he has asserted under attack and his influence challenged. Congress and the Supreme Court have pushed back at his claim that the president alone, as commander in chief, can set the rules for detention, interrogation and domestic spying.
On Wednesday afternoon in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Cheney sat silently as President Bush urged Congress to restore to him the powers, stripped away by the Supreme Court in a 5-to-3 ruling in June, to create military commissions and define the precise meaning of the Geneva Conventions when it comes to interrogations.
There is little question that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney still share the goal of expanding the power of the presidency: legislation they have sent to Congress would essentially allow them to set the rules of evidence, define interrogation techniques and intercept domestic communications as they have for the past five years.
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