Oh dear…Alberto Gonzales goes back before the Senate

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by Ari Rutenberg

Where even to begin with the Attorney General. He has been so inept and incompetent that one might think almost nothing he could do would shock the conscience anymore. And yet you would be wrong.

First the latest news from the Associated Press, via thinkprogress.org:

The AP reports that a four-page memo sent by then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte in May 2006 confirms that a March 2004 White House intelligence briefing for top congressional leaders was on “the Terrorist Surveillance Program.”

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The revelation is significant because just yesterday Alberto Gonzales testified that the White house briefing was about “other intelligence activities.”

“The dissent related to other intelligence activities,” Gonzales testified at Tuesday’s hearing. “The dissent was not about the terrorist surveillance program.”

“Not the TSP?” responded Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “Come on. If you say it’s about other, that implies not. Now say it or not.”

“It was not,” Gonzales answered. “It was about other intelligence activities.”

In response to that and other totally fabricated and mendacious testimony, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary committee said the following (again from thinkprogress.org)

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) warned Gonzales yesterday: “My suggestion to you is you review your testimony to find out if your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable,” Specter said. Time reports, “The maximum penalty for being caught lying to Congress is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 per count. Specter wryly noted to reporters during a break that there is a jail in the Capitol complex.” (read the full article)

If Republicans are saying he clearly perjured himself in front of Congress, then these are dire times indeed for General Gonzales.It is shameful that the DoJ has been reduced to such a pale and malicious caricature of its former self. Though I do not want to sanitize the record of the DoJ in terms of its often oppressive and sometimes unlawful conduct, there has been a sense at least since World War II that it should operate independently of the normal political machinations of the government in terms of consistently, fairly, and blindly applying the law to everyone including holding other branches of government and themselves accountable for their misdeeds.
It is very disappointing to see these ideologues throw away such noble sentiment in favor of bold politicization and dogmatic ideological purity among even the professional ranks of the department. And to make the DoJ party to criminal manipulation of the Justice system and the electoral process, as the U.S. Attorney firings blatantly have done, seems to me one of the most dishonorable and contemptible actions a government could perpetrate on a supposedly free people, if indeed it does not rise to the level of unconstitutional activity and possibly outright treason.
It is time for this government to be held accountable for its disgraceful, immoral, and illegal mismanagement of our government. Alberto Gonzales should be tried for perjury and Bush and Cheney should be impeached. There is nor more time for political correctness. There is only, maybe, enough time to stop these men before they permanently damage our government's most basic ability to function.