by digby

I have been wondering about this weird pocket veto of the Defense Authorization bill all day. It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

An informed reader writes in to offer a possible explanation:

Re: your post "Where Will It End?" I suspect that the key to the pocket veto has nothing to do with Iraqi assets. Rather, it is contained a little line buried in the last paragraph of the Memorandum of Disapproval: "... I continue to have serious objections to other provisions of this bill, including section 1079 relating to intelligence matters . . ."

What is in 1079 you ask? A provision requiring the Director of National Intelligence to make available to the Congressional intelligence committees, upon the request of the chair or ranking minority member, "any existing intelligence assessment, report, estimate, or legal opinion," within certain conditions. See here.(I don't know if that link will continue to work...but you can requery
HR 1585 yourself if it is broken by the time you write this.)

What specifically does Bush fear must be turned over? It's hard to say. Waterboarding legal opinions? Opinions or other documents related to the torture tapes? Something related to the recent Iran 180? Who knows. It's also not clear to me what this language adds, since Congress already should have the inherent and statutory power to subpeona these materials. I'd have to look further into it.

And of course, there's always the possibility they are being on the level as to their reasons here. Where better to hide the truth than in plan sight--I know their official pronouncements are the last place I'd look for it.

PS: FWIW, I believe that Bush is probably in the right legally here with the pocket veto. Webb is keeping the *Senate* open, but HR 1585, like all spending bills, began in the House. As far as I know, no one is doing the same for the House, since the House doesn't matter for the purposes of recess appointments. I don't think the Dems foresaw this, and so just kept the Senate open. The Constitution is clear, however, that vetos are returned to "that House in which it shall have originated."