Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gonzales Helped Shut Down Investigation That May Have Targeted Him

Will this be the nail in Gonzales’s coffin?

Murray Waas, the intrepid investigative journalist for the National Journal, posted an online article this morning, Aborted DOJ Probe Probably Would Have Targeted Gonzales.

According to Waas, “Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews.

Bush personally intervened to sideline the Justice Department probe in April 2006 by taking the unusual step of denying investigators the security clearances necessary for their work."

Did Gonzales tell Bush that his own conduct was about to be scrutinized? Waas quotes Charles Wolfram, a professor emeritus of legal ethics at Cornell University Law School, who said that if Gonzales did not inform the president, Gonzales ill-served Bush and abused "the discretion of his office" for his own benefit. However, if Gonzales did inform Bush that the probe might harm Gonzales, then "both [men] are abusing the discretion of their offices."

The investigation of the Department of Justice on the warrantless domestic eavesdropping was instigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an investigative arm of the DoJ.

The whole article is worth reading; here are some highlights:

Current and former Justice Department officials called Bush’s actions unprecedented in the office’s history.

Private individuals, members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, were given security clearances, in contrast to the refusal to given them to the OPR investigators. The reason for the refusal was that “it would increase the risk that national security may be compromised.”

A former senior Justice Department official said that the Justice Department inquiry (conducted ) by OPR “must have raised the specter of a waking nightmare for the AG [Attorney General Alberto Gonzales].”

[Click on the cartoon to enlarge it]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As the fine Daily Kos diarist "Kagro X" pointed out several months ago, blocking the OPR investigation and thereby obstructing justice, puts the President in the position of having committed a criminal act--one for which he should/could be impeached.

The information in the Murray Waas article is key to what happens next.