Today on C-Span 3, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faces the Senate Judiciary committee for the third time.
In some ways, Gonzales is a big kahuna, the person whom these hearings are targeting. He has certainly been a big proponent of the Lackey Strategy himself, throwing the responsibility for his illegal activities onto inexperienced party loyalists like Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson. Gonzales has also been instrumental in implementing the Bush administration’s most egregious offenses against the rule of law. He wrote the memo stating that the Geneva Conventions were “quaint”, which enabled institutionalized torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. He gave the thumbs-up to the hundreds of signing statements Bush wrote, which, in many cases, contradicted the very legislation he was signing. And of course, he tried to manipulate a groggy, post-op John Ashcroft into approving the illegal NSA spying program, which Ashcroft had already refused to do.
But Patrick Leahy, the committee’s chairman, knows there are bigger fish to fry than the man whom George W. Bush calls “Fredo”.
Senator Patrick Leahy kicked off an oversight hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales by accusing top White House adviser Karl Rove of playing a key role in the firing of 8 US Attorneys.
“The accumulated and essentially uncontroverted evidence is that political considerations factored into the unprecedented firing of at least nine United States Attorneys last year,” the committee’s chairman said. “The evidence we have been able to collect points to Karl Rove and the political operatives at the White House. .”
Leahy also described a Justice Department in a state of ‘crisis.’ He worried that most of the senior leadership in the department had resigned.
“I would joke that the last one out the door should turn off the lights, but the Department of Justice is more important than that,” he stated. “We need to shine more light on the Justice Department, not less.”
The Vermont Democrat went on to criticize Gonzales for failing to be forthcoming with information about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of National Security Letters and said it pointed to an inability to trust Gonzales and the Bush administration.
“With a history of civil liberty abuses and cover ups, this administration has squandered our trust,” he warned.
Shorter Leahy: Lackey, your time is up. We’re going after the big boys now.