Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Gonzales follies

It looks like the worm is turning for AG Alberto Gonzales again. On Tuesday he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that his briefing to members of Congress in the so called Gang of Eight in March of 2004 was not about the NSA domestic spying program. Several Democratic members of the group have said since Tuesday that his characterization of the secret briefing is totally off base, that they did discuss the spying program. Now, according to the WaPo, comes the revelation of a 2006 2-page memo written by then DNI John Negroponte that also says the briefing was "on the Terrorist Surveillance Program."

In claiming that the secret briefing was not about the NSA program, that it was about other "intelligence activities" in legal dispute within the DoJ, Gonzales was apparently trying to parse his previous lie to the Committee in April that there was "no serious disagreement" in the DoJ about the warranties wire-tapping program, despite subsequent revelations since then that he got six memos detailing some pretty "serious disagreement" within the agency.

Of course, this entire matter is so absolutely convoluted from Gonzales' repeated lies that who knows what the hell really happened at this point? No wonder he can't even keep his lies straight. [If Scooter Libby was half the liar Gonzales is, it's not difficult to see why Patrick Fitzgerald couldn't get the goods on Rove and Cheney in the Plame leak case.]

Gonzales also claimed that his and Andy Card's visit to a groggy John Ashcroft in the middle of the night was merely to inform Ashcroft that Congress fully supported certain other "intelligence activities" that he wouldn't discuss. Contradicting his former deputy's eye witness account of Gonzales and Card's attempts to strong-arm Ashcroft into over-ruling Comey, Gonzales testified that he and Card "didn't press him. We said 'thank you' and we left."

That sounds credible, right?

He knew Ashcroft was sick and that Comey was in charge, but he still thought that he needed to inform Ashcroft of Congress' opinion on the subject of other "intelligence activities?" Naturally, Gonzales in particular has always respected the constitutional authority of the Congress and has never spent every waking hour trying to come up with ways to circumvent it, so it's totally plausible that he felt the need to rush right over the Ashcroft's sick bed to make sure he knew what Congress was thinking.

In any case, Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter have told Gonzales he's got until next week to revise his testimony or the Senate will call on DoJ IG Glenn Fine to conduct a perjury investigation. DoJ spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, whose nose has become strangely elongated recently, says the AG "stands by his testimony" (which he keeps changing every time he speaks).

Judging by previous experience, I'm thinking Gonzales isn't going to get back to the Judiciary Committee any time soon. Remember a couple of weeks ago when Leahy sent Gonzales a letter demanding that the AG answer a list of detailed questions, which Leahy wanted cleared up before Gonzales showed up again? Well, Gonzales didn't exactly get around to answering any questions; he just sent a self-serving letter saying nothing.

Why am I getting the feeling that Gonzales will just turtle at this point? He's going to go even deeper under ground and let the administration spin machine do the talking for him. You know, he's busy fixing things at the DoJ, he doesn't have time for this. And he's got to get to that finish line.


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