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Thanks to Reader PD, we've identified what appears to be the entire staff of Vice President Dick Cheney's Senate office.

As some of you have noted, Cheney maintains a White House staff, and a Senate staff, paid for out of separate accounts reserved for each body.

PD found the information on Legistorm.com, a site which tracks title and salary information for congressional staffers; it's recent as of Sept. 30, 2006. These lucky 41 ostensibly support Cheney's efforts as president of that august chamber. We're still hard at work identifying who he's got working at the White House.

Staffer names and positions, after the jump. (We didn't reprint salary info -- but if you're curious, click here.)

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From The New York Times:

Mr. Fleischer, testifying in Mr. Libby’s trial under a grant of immunity, said Mr. Libby told him over lunch on July 7, 2003, that the wife of a critic of President Bush’s Iraq policy worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. That is three days before he told a grand jury that he first learned her name.

“This is hush-hush,” Mr. Fleischer recalled Mr. Libby as saying in effect. “This is on the Q.T. Not many people know about this.”

At TPM, David Kurtz recently mused on the irrational secrecy which has cloaked the Office of the Vice Presidency's staff list since Dick Cheney set up shop there. "It's about a perverse sense of entitlement and a deep aversion to scrutiny and accountability," wrote Kurtz. ""Time to shine some light on the OVP."

If that's not throwing down the gauntlet to the muckrakers, we don't know what is.

We called Leadership Directories, Inc., a private company which publishes expensive telephone books listing federal officials. OVP routinely shares information on roughly 30 employees, they told us. Of course, that's likely less than half the number of staffers in his office: in the January issue of the Washington Monthly, Laura Rozen estimates Cheney's staff size to be 88, plus various experts assigned temporary duty to OVP by their federal agencies. (The largest concentration of staff in a single area is likely to be in Cheney's national security staff: in 2005, Foreign Policy's David Rothkopf asserted (reg. req.) that Cheney has the largest national security staff of any vice president ever, with guesses ranging from 15 to 35 at any given time.)

Cheney's office refuses to give any details to reporters. His office is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, so any such request would be futile. What's more, Cheney appears to have exempted his office from having to disclose the number of appointed officials in his ranks: all other agencies have to release theirs for a government directory known as the "Plum Book."

Published every four years, the volume is supposed to list every position in the federal government that is assigned to a political appointee. Cheney's list was a more dangerous secret than even the CIA's. In the most recent edition published in 2004, the book shows the CIA as having eight such spots; it shows none for the vice president's office. Instead there is a brief appendix (pdf) consisting of three rather wordy paragraphs that say a lot but say very little. It's important to note that past vice presidents have complied with the law. For example, here and here.

Update: Two Cheney aides are named in the 2004 Plum Book after all, although they are listed under the "White House Office": then-chief of staff Scooter Libby, and Brian D. Montgomery, "Deputy Assistant to the President, Deputy Director of Presidential Speechwriting and Assistant to the Vice President."

Marcy "emptywheel" Wheeler is continuing her heroic efforts to report the events of the Libby trial live via Firedoglake.

Among other developments this morning, she reports that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald got his hair cut, and the jury appears to have lost one of its members.

Army Investigating Contractor Fraud Army investigators are probing up to 50 instances of fraud, conspiracy, bribery, and bid rigging on the part of private contractors hired to assist the United States' efforts in Iraq and the war on terror. "Senior contracting officials, government employees, residents of other countries and, in some cases, U.S. military personnel have been implicated in millions of dollars of fraud allegations." (AP)

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The Iran-U.S. PR battle is in full swing.

With word that the U.S. plans to offer public proof of Iran's hostile role in Iraq sometime this week, Iran's ambassador to Iraq suddenly agreed to an interview with The New York Times. Call it pre-emption:

[Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qumi] ridiculed the evidence that the American military has said it collected, including maps of Baghdad delineating Sunni, Shiite and mixed neighborhoods — the kind of maps, American officials have said, that would be useful for militias engaged in ethnic slaughter. Mr. Qumi said the maps were so common and easily obtainable that they proved nothing.

He declined to say whether he believed the maps bore sectarian markings or address other pieces of evidence the Americans said they had found, like manifests of weapons and material relating to the technology of sophisticated roadside bombs. But that is not why the Iranians were in the compound, he said.


And Qumi had something else up his sleeve for the U.S. -- following quickly on the Bush administration's confirmation Friday of their new strategy of "kill or capture" for Iranian agents in Iraq --: news that Iran planned to open a national bank in Iraq, "in effect creating a new Iranian financial institution right under the Americans’ noses," and that Iran had made offers of "military assistance" to Iraq.

All this was news to the U.S., it seemed, who would not respond to Qumi's statements until they'd made their way through "official routes."

Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer is set to testify today in the Scooter Libby leak trial, under a grant of immunity from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. He's the first -- and could be the only -- witness to testify under immunity.

"He is likely to turn out to be the most important witness to date," writes National Journal investigative reporter and professional Plameologist Murray Waas, "not in terms of whether the legal case against Libby is strong or not-- but rather in providing us with new information as to what went on inside the Whte House during the crucial time that Bush administration officials leaked to the press that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer."

Fleischer is expected to testify about a July 7, 2003, lunch he had with Libby, in which the former Cheney chief of staff told him that Valerie Plame, wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, worked for the CIA. Prosecutors believe Fleischer later told members of the White House press corps about Plame's identity.

And here's some Libby trial trivia for you: both Fleischer and Libby are Miami Dolphins fans.

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reports:

White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat” to protect Rove.

Since last March, nine top federal prosecutor positions have gone to conservative loyalists, according to a new story from McClatchy Newspapers:

Being named a U.S. attorney “has become a prize for doing the bidding of the White House or administration," said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor who's now a professor at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "In the past, there had been a great deal of delegation to the local offices. Now, you have a consolidation of power in Washington."

. . . Since last March, the administration has named at least nine U.S. attorneys with administration ties. None of them would agree to an interview. They include:

- Tim Griffin, 37, a former aide to White House political adviser Karl Rove and a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee, the U.S. attorney for Arkansas.

- Rachel Paulose, 33, who served briefly as a counselor to the deputy attorney general and who, according a former boss, has been a member of the secretive, ideologically conservative Federalist Society, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota.

- Jeff Taylor, 42, a former aide to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. Taylor worked as a counselor to Gonzales and former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

- John Wood, the husband of assistant secretary of homeland security Julie Myers and an ex-deputy general counsel of the White House Office of Management and Budget, U.S. attorney in Kansas City.

- Deborah Rhodes, 47, a former Justice Department counselor, in Mobile, Ala.

- Alexander Acosta, 37, a former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division and a protege of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in Miami.

- John Richter, 43, chief of staff for the Justice Department’s criminal division and acting assistant attorney general, in Oklahoma City.

- Edward McNally, senior associate counsel to President Bush, in southern Illinois.

- Matt Dummermuth, a Justice Department civil rights lawyer, in Iowa.

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