Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The sad state at the Department of Justice:

Well, well, guess who's scheduled for another visit to Senator Leahy's woodshed? If you guessed Al "Waterboard" Gonzales, you guessed correctly. It seems more evidence of the AG not being totally candid under oath during testimony to Congress has cropped up.

According to the WaPo:

"As he sought to renew the USA Patriot Act two years ago, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales assured lawmakers that the FBI had not abused its potent new terrorism-fighting powers.

'There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse,' Gonzales told senators on April 27, 2005.

Six days earlier, the FBI sent Gonzales a copy of a report that said its agents had obtained personal information that they were not entitled to have. It was one of at least half a dozen reports of legal or procedural violations that Gonzales received in the three months before he made his statement to the Senate intelligence committee, according to internal FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act."

What do you know about that? And, it gets better . . .

A report Gonzales received on April 21, 2005 had to do with violations of the use of National Security Letters (NSLs), yet when an inspector generals report came out detailing the many abuses by the FBI of these letters this past March, he said: " I was upset when I learned this . . . To say that I'm concerned about what has been revealed in this report would be an enormous understatement." [Or an enormous fib]

So either, he's so out of the loop that he just happened to miss all these reports coming across his desk for the past two years, or -- gasp -- he's LYING.

Naturally, W. "still has faith in the attorney general," according to a WH spokesman, so no matter how much he fabricates and obfuscates, the chief law enforcement officer of the country will continue to make a mockery of the Department of Justice -- until he gets to that finish line.

See the DoJ mission isn't about law enforcement or justice anymore, it's been demoted to the president's personal legal department, mainly focused on furthering the agenda of the radical right and -- now more than ever -- keeping his cronies out of jail. Just look at the Libby case: Normal procedure at the DoJ is lawyers go over requests for pardons or commutations and forward their recommendations, based on the law and the merits of the case, to the president for his signature. In this case, Justice was kept totally out of the loop and was caught as flat-footed as everyone else.

One wonders what folks at the Department think about their fearless leader now that he just let the White House roll over him and the department like that. I'm thinking there were probably not a small number of DoJ employees mentally composing resignation letters while they were stuck in traffic on their way out of town that fateful Monday night.

I think what former Surgeon General Richard Carmona told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday about his experience with the administration applies to not only him but to all agencies of the executive branch, including DoJ:

"Anything that doesn't fit into political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or buried." (Ask the fired prosecutors about that.)

Gonzales is simply a political commissar for the administration, he's not interested in upholding the values of the institution. He was a not so skilled yes-man in Texas, just cleaver enough to get W. out of jury duty, but he's in way over his head in Washington. What makes this guy think he can just go to the Senate and lie his face off time after time after time. [My God, Arlen, WAKE UP! He's making a fool out of you!]

The theological agenda, though, is the most disturbing aspect of this whole take over of Justice. What has the Civil Rights Division been up to these last six years? Protecting Christians in a 99.9% Christian nation against -- what? And flooding the ranks of the Department with recent graduates from Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School isn't exactly a great recipe for assuring the highest level of legal expertise for the coming years. It does make sense, however, if you have a notion to pervert the secular nature of our country that's been enshrined in our democratic way of life for over 200 years.

You know, I remember a few years back the folks most opposed getting rid of Miranda warnings were those in law enforcement (when that basic protection was being threatened by get-tough-on-crime-types). Their basic argument, if I recall correctly, was that Miranda kept the police honest. Making sure all the i's were dotted and all the t's were crossed, made for better police work overall. This is the problem with playing fast and loose with long established rules that have somehow managed to get us through many other wars and civil disturbances. You start playing it ear and the wheels come off fairly quickly.

More abuses, idiocy and colossal wastes of money coming:

Now, we have faith based law enforcement. Faith in a gut felling. Faith in date mining. Not that date mining has proven to be effective in the least, but John Poindexter said it, I believe it, that settles it!

AP reports:

"The FBI is gathering and sorting information about Americans to help search for potential terrorists, insurance cheats and crooked pharmacists, according to a government report obtained yesterday. Records about identity thefts, real-estate transactions, motor-vehicle accidents, and complaints about Internet drug companies are being searched for common threads to aid law-enforcement officials, the Justice Department said in a 38-page report to Congress on the agency's data-mining practices."

Patrick Leahy says this database is "ripe for abuse." Really, what makes him think that? Al Gonzales has been doing a bang-up job on watching out for abuses with illegal wire-tapping and NSLs, I think we can trust him with something called the "System to Assess Risk," a new database they're working on that looks at your car insurance payments and decides whether you're a potential terrorist. Note: If your name is Abdul or Osama, you may want to think about changing it to John or Fred; something less threatening like that.

It's a sad fact that in the end, whether Al Gonzales stays or leaves, no one is going to be running the show over at Justice until we get a new administration in power. Who in his or her right mind would want to take over that mess with only about 500 days to go? I'm thinking there are a lot of people who'd love to see the return of Janet Reno right now! You think you had problems then, ha!


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