21 Jul

Protecting a Criminal, Our Tax Dollars at Work

President Barack Obama authorizes extended Secret Service guard for former VP Dick Cheney

By James Gordon Meek and Thomas M. Defrank, DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

Tuesday, July 21st 2009


WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Secret Service protection has been extended for at least another six months, beginning Tuesday.

Normally, ex-veeps only get six months of protection at taxpayer expense. But Cheney asked for an extension, and President Obama – whom Cheney has excoriated in several interviews since leaving office – recently signed off.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano signed the order extending Cheney’s security detail, her spokeswoman Sara Kuban confirmed Monday.

If the Obama administration hadn’t gone along with Cheney’s request, he would have been forced to hire his own security agents – or go without.

Cheney’s friends have said he has become more concerned about his privacy and personal safety in recent years.

Like all “protectees,” Cheney can petition the government for additional extensions of Secret Service protection, and several sources close to Cheney predicted he will do so once this new extension lapses.

Normally, the “threat level” diminishes dramatically after Presidents and vice presidents step down. In the post-9/11 world, that may no longer be the case.

Since 1997, former Presidents have been limited to 10 years of government protection. Bill Clinton – and wife Hillary – is the last ex-President entitled to a lifetime taxpayer-funded security cocoon.

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