White House Drops Vice President's Dual-Role Argument as Moot

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The White House has dropped the argument that Vice President Dick Cheney’s dual role as president of the Senate meant that he could deny access to national archivists who oversee the handling of classified data in the executive branch.

Mr. Cheney’s office had said that his dual role meant that he was technically not part of the executive branch.

In interviews over the last two days, officials have said that while the vice president does, in fact, have the right of refusal, it is for the very opposite reason: He is not required to cooperate with National Archives officials seeking the data because he is a member of the executive branch, with power vested in him by the president.

The White House was in effect walking away from a fight over Mr. Cheney’s place within the Constitution that it has clearly not relished since the dispute broke wide into public view last week.

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