'What Credibility Is Left for You?'

Is Alberto Gonzales a liar? Several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee seem to think so, but the attorney general is so evasive and unforthcoming that it's hard to be sure. Last year, for instance, he denied there had been any debate within the administration about the legality of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program. In May former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified that he and his boss, John Ashcroft, had refused to sign off on a reauthorization of the program in 2004 because of concerns about its legal basis. Yesterday Gonzales, who was the White House counsel at the time, admitted this conflict occurred but said it involved different, unspecified "intelligence activities." 

Gonzales also confirmed that he and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card went to Ashcroft's hospital room, where he was recovering from gallbladder surgery, and urged him not to let the intelligence program expire, but he denied that he tried to take advantage of Ashcroft's illness, as Comey charged. "Obviously," Gonzales told the committee, "there was concern about General Ashcroft's condition, and we would not have sought, nor did we intend to get any approval from General Ashcroft if in fact he wasn't fully competent to make that decision." Gonzales said he just wanted to let Ashcroft know that congressional leaders who were briefed on the program wanted it to continue. Two Democratic senators who supposedly expressed that sentiment, South Dakota's Tom Daschle and West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller, yesterday denied that they had.

Not surprisingly, Democrats on the committee were skeptical of Gonzales' testimony. "You've come here seeking our trust," said the chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). "Frankly, Mr. Attorney General, you've lost mine. And this is something I've never said to any cabinet member before." Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) told Gonzales, "It's hard to see anything but a pattern of intentionally misleading Congress again and again. Shouldn't the attorney general of the United States meet a higher standard?" To which Gonzales replied, "Obviously, there have been instances where I have not met that standard [the standard of not intentionally misleading Congress?], and I've tried to correct that."

Most striking was the response of the committee's ranking Republican, Arlen Specter, who stopped just short of calling Gonzales a liar. "What credibility is left for you?" he asked. "I do not find your testimony credible, candidly. The chairman's already said that the committee's going to review your testimony very carefully to see if your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable."

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  • ||

    So what if he is a liar? He is just the nation's top lawyer. He supposed to not even have the appearance of impropriety but hey, he went to Harvard. That guarantees that if he gets fired, he will just retire in disgrace to a high powered Washington D.C. law firm making $500k a year and will have to grieve on the beach in the Bahamas.

  • LibertyPlease||

    It's about time. I was most horrified by Alberto's claim (as Attorney General!) that we American's are not granted the rights in the Constitution if it merely states "shall not be infringed". Treasonous.

  • brian||

    But it's ok because of 9/11.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    9/11!!!

  • ||

    Unless they involve botched drug warrants, 2nd Amendment posts garner hundreds of comments while 4th Amendment threads are lucky to break into double digits.

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

  • lunchstealer||

    Y'know, I'd be a lot more enthusiastic about kickin' this guy out of office, if it weren't for the fact that this guy made me actually miss SpongeJohn SquareAshcroft, so I really dread who they'd get to replace him.

  • Joe||

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    911!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    the attorney general is so evasive and unforthcoming that it's hard to be sure.

    He's a lawyer you idiot.

  • Hanover Fiste||

    Hanging's too good for him! Burning's too good for him! He should be torn into little-bitsy pieces and buried alive!

  • ||

    I can't be the only one who's amused by all this dysfunction.

  • ||

    What he should have said:

    "I, AG Gonzales, never tell the truth."

  • ||

    Y'know, I'd be a lot more enthusiastic about kickin' this guy out of office, if it weren't for the fact that this guy made me actually miss SpongeJohn SquareAshcroft, so I really dread who they'd get to replace him.

    I would hope that, in order to win confirmation from a Dem senate, the next candidate would need to be much better. This isn't 2005 anymore, and I don't think too many dems will be talking about "letting the president get his man" this time around.

  • brian||

    He should be torn into little-bitsy pieces and buried alive!

    I think those two are mutually exclusive...

  • dhex||

    the 9/11 song

    i love you my country
    i cannot do you wrong
    and if you get mad at me
    just listen to my 9/11 song

    my 9/11 song
    together it makes 18
    remember how we cried?
    remember those who died?

    so your freedoms we erode
    while your data we do so mine
    18 minus 11 is seven
    seven plus two is nine

    9/11
    you can't forget it
    9/11
    let me see your papers
    9/11 backwards is 11/9
    11
    9
    11
    9
    11
    9

    but seriously fuck these guys. anyone even vaguely libertoid who votes gop after eight years of these murderous cockfucks needs to have their head examined.

  • ||

    Gonzo is lameo

  • ||

    So what if he is a liar? He is just the nation's top lawyer.

    I think the second pretty much guarantees the first.

  • ||

    I think Eliot Abrams and John Poindexter could tell Gonzalez that lying to congress is in fact a felony (but not necessarily a deterrent to a gig in any future adminitrations).

    Lawyers should probably avoid felonies if they want to continue practicing.

  • ||

    If lapdog Gonzo goes, the next AG could very well get into office, check the prevailing winds, and feel duty bound to indict Cheney Bush for crimes committed during their reign of error.

    I'd like that.

  • ||

    If lapdog Gonzo goes, the next AG could very well get into office, check the prevailing winds, and feel duty bound to indict Cheney Bush for crimes committed during their reign of error.

    Yeah, and a Ferrari will magically show up in my driveway shortly thereafter.

  • ||

    Suppose you're calling political strategy for the GOP. Running the Bush League scofflaws outta town a little bit early is an easy way to distance the party from what, soup to nuts, has been an abject failure of a two term presidency.

    The better Ron Paul does, the higher the odds are that the Democan (Republicrat?) establishment will act to take the Bush league out a few months early for the (shockingly inept) criminal escapades that they've engaged in.

    At the end of the day, more so than the "criminal escapades", the "shockingly inept" part is their real sin. Failures suck.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    anyone even vaguely libertoid who votes gop after eight years of these murderous cockfucks needs to have their head examined.

    Agree on the sentiment, but we might face some cognitive dissonance come election time. On the one hand, there's the very valid idea that punishing these "murderous cockfucks" is Priority One. Then there's the general principle that, if electing people who actually share our philosophy is not an option, divided government is our best hope for liberty. Democrats should keep a firm hold on Congress, so the latter principle would suggest a Republican president.

    But yeah, there's no way in hell I can bring myself to pull the lever for a Republican who isn't Ron Paul. And the top issue for anyone with a functioning conscience is ending the war, so that's one thing where we actually don't want gridlock. A Republican president (excluding Ron Paul) could never end the war and tacitly admit that the last four years have been an indefensible disaster. If Congressional Democrats had the balls to cut off funding for all expenditures outside a swift exit, this wouldn't be a problem and we could vote for divided government, but they won't do that either, so, perversely, we may have to count their own weakness as a reason to vote them into the White House. That's assuming that the Democratic candidate can credibly convince us that he/she will end the war.

    Of course, I'd be (relatively) happy to vote for Paul, but optimism isn't my strong suit. Did I mention that democracy sucks?

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    the higher the odds are that the Democan (Republicrat?) establishment will act to take the Bush league out a few months early for the (shockingly inept) criminal escapades that they've engaged in.

    Wishful thinking. No Republican (other than Paul), nor many Democrats can/will condemn the Bush administration without implicitly charging him/herself as an accomplice.

  • ||

    What about the FISA fiasco? That was secret and can be hung on the executive branch exclusively.

    If they were to push the "defrauded the nation into war" angle, the vast majority of politicos can pitch themselves as "victims of scurrilous liars".

    More and more people want Bush slapped down for being a bad president. The top vote getter on YouTube for the video questions posed during the last DFL debate pertained to impeachment. It didn't make it past the vetting stage, but you can be sure the various campaigns took note.

    And it's only going to get worse as election day gets closer.

  • ||

    Anonymo,

    Fortunately, the Democrats are self-gridlocking. Remember 2002-2203?

  • ||

    Er, um, 1993-1994, I mean. The first half of Clinton's first term.

  • Bill||

    "anyone even vaguely libertoid who votes gop after eight years of these murderous cockfucks needs to have their head examined"

    Yeah, I guess I will have to vote for the Democrats because they have a long history of advocating against big-government, in favor of gun rights, property rights, lower taxes, a strong foreign policy, etc. Obviously we should all vote for Hillary Clinton.

    But seriously if you vote Democrat and even claim to call yourself libertarian, you are an imbecile.

  • ||

    anyone even vaguely libertoid who votes gop after eight years of these murderous cockfucks needs to have their head examined.

    Identity politics!

    Anyway, I hope you aren't including those who vote for Ron Paul and his liberspawn in that group.

  • ||

    Er, um, 1993-1994, I mean. The first half of Clinton's first term.

    Assault Weapons Ban which trampled on the 2nd Ammendment.

    "Freedom of Choice Act" which trampled on federalism.

    Joycelyn Elders promoting masturbation education in public schools.

    need I go on?

  • scandalrag||

    Crimethink,

    don't be hatin' on BAITIN'

  • ||

    "but seriously fuck these guys. anyone even vaguely libertoid who votes gop after eight years of these murderous cockfucks needs to have their head examined."

    DonderEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY
    DonderIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIY
    DonderOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    Donderhahahahaha!

  • ||

    I just found this TIME article on the Joycelyn Elders thang. It also included this blast from the past:

    That stature gap helps explain why both parties are playing a new Washington game called "Whose Wrecking Ball Is Bigger?" After Republican Newt Gingrich announced his plan to sell one of five House office buildings, jealous Clinton aides one-upped the Republican leader with a plan to padlock an entire federal agency. Hearing of this, Republican leaders late last Friday began work on a new budget plan to close four agencies: HUD, Energy, Education and Commerce. The bidding war exasperated one official. "Now we're in a situation," he said, "where if we don't abolish three agencies, we look weak."



    Ah, for the heady days of December 1994. ::wipes away tear::

  • ||

    Uh, yeah, crimethink - how'd that go? The closing agencies thing. Mission Accomplished?

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