Opinion: Memo from the V.P.: Don’t write this down

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One of the major concerns of historians and academics, as society moved into the electronic age, was that many of the written documents -- like letters, diaries, messages and memos -- so important in reconstructing history later would simply be deleted over time and not left as paper documents for archivists to pore over as in previous centuries.

Well, historians need not worry about memo deletions as far as Vice President Dick Cheney’s files are concerned.

The reason: He doesn’t write memos. He leaves no paper trail. On purpose.


Speaking last week in Grand Rapids, Mich., at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, Ford’s one-time White House chief of staff said, ‘Researchers like to come and dig through my files, to see if anything interesting turns up.’

‘I want to wish them luck,’ the vice president said to a laughing audience. ‘But the files are pretty thin. I learned early on that if you don’t want your memos to get you in trouble someday, just don’t write any.’

--Andrew Malcolm