Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If this isn’t grounds for a Congressional perjury charge against Gonzo, what is?

Corpus Juris has written on this subject; I wanted to add a little more.

As this Newsweek/Washington Post article spells out, Alberto V-05 clearly perjured himself before Congress. The details:

As he sought to renew the USA Patriot Act two years ago, Attorney General Alberto R. 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.

Now, I can already tell you what the various reactions out of Gonzo’s mouth might be:
• “These were just procedural issues;
• “Trust me, nobody’s civil liberties were violated”
• “Mistakes were made”;

Already, DOJ spokesperson Brian Roehrkasse is seeking to “contextualize” Gonzo’s statements.

However, he and Gonzo are undercut, in the story, despite Roehrkasse’s attempt to spin that, as well:
Each of the violations cited in the reports copied to Gonzales was serious enough to require notification of the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, which helps police the government's surveillance activities. The format of each memo was similar, and none minced words.

The oversight board, staffed with intelligence experts from inside and outside government, was established to report to the attorney general and president about civil liberties abuses or intelligence lapses. But Roehrkasse said the fact that a violation is reported to the board "does not mean that a USA Patriot violation exists or that an individual's civil liberties have been abused."

Looking beyond this spin, this revelation about Gonzo’s brazenness is not a tree falling in a people-deserted forest. Instead, it topples right in the midst of multiple House and Senate attempts to obtain new White House testimony on DOJ, its warrantless wiretapping, its politically-based firings of district attorneys, Vice President Cheney’s secretiveness and more.

Will Democrats do what they need to do and prefer charges against Gonzo? Will they push back? I, for one, am not holding my breath too long at this point.

Cross-posted at Socratic Gadfly .