Chris's Rants

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do

Ruh roh, looks like AG AG is going to be on the hot seat next week. The WaPo informs us that Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps by Sen. Russ Feingold:
"It now appears that the Attorney General was not being straight with the Judiciary Committee and he has some explaining to do," Feingold said in a statement yesterday.

A Justice Department spokesman said yesterday the department had not yet reviewed the Feingold letter and could not comment.
Jeralyn has the transcripts of the confirmation hearings for Abu Gonzales. Here's a taste:
Sen. Feingold: And I also would like you to answer this: does the president, in your opinion, have the authority acting as commander in chief to authorize warrantless searches of Americans' homes and wiretaps of their conversations in violation of the criminal and foreign intelligence surveillance statutes of this country?

MR. GONZALES: Senator, the August 30th memo has been withdrawn. It has been rejected, including that section regarding the commander in chief authority to ignore the criminal statutes. So it's been rejected by the executive branch. I categorically reject it. And in addition to that, as I've said repeatedly today, this administration does not engage in torture and will not condone torture. And so, what you really are -- what we're really discussing is a hypothetical situation that --
I imagine it will be especially difficult for Gonzo to now come before the senate and say in his best Emily Litella voice: "ne-ver-miiind" given that he is on the record as "categorically rejecting" the notion that King George has the inherent authority to ignore the criminal statutes or the Constitution of the United States. Yet, that is the very core of the administration's argument that Doofus Dowrong can spy on innocent Americans without a warrant, just because he has "reasonable suspicion" that they might be in some tangential way "associated" (whatever that means) with terrorists.

I can tell you what it has meant to date, that the FBI has chased down an awful lot of pizza places simply because someone who happened to receive or make a call overseas also happened to call out for pizza.
We also know that the Justice Department had serious concerns about the program. Top officials, including Deputy Attorney General James Comey, had apparently questioned the legality of the surveillance. Rank-and-file agents reportedly started to joke that the intelligence gleaned from the spying was so unreliable that a new batch of tips meant more "calls to Pizza Hut." It bears noting that the very individuals who now claim that the NSA program is illegal may be the ones who broke the law in the first instance.
Either way, I think that it is entirely possible that Abu Gonzales might lose his job over this. Senators don't like it when you lie to their faces under oath. Besides, it is against the law.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any
matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or
judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly
and willfully -
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or
device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent
statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the
same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent
statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5
years, or both.


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