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Cheney Fighting Efforts to Monitor Classified Activities

A Democratic Party lawmaker is criticizing U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney for refusing to cooperate with a government agency that safeguards secret national security information.

California Representative Henry Waxman released documents Thursday that revealed Cheney's office has not filed annual reports with a unit of the National Archives, the Information Security Oversight Office, since 2003. The unit is required to monitor how the executive branch of the government handles classified documents, under an order first signed in 1995 by then President Bill Clinton.

Cheney's advisors say his office is not covered under the order, arguing that the vice president's office is not strictly an executive agency.

Waxman calls Cheney's assertions "absurd."

The documents show Cheney's office blocked the unit from conducting an onsite inspection of his office in 2004. Agency officials filed a formal request with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January to resolve the matter.

But the vice president's office has proposed abolishing the office. A spokeswoman for Cheney says the office is "confident" it is properly operating under the law.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.