We all know this is largely about politics. What we're seeing is payback, the circle of life in DC. As far as the US Attorney firing thing, fine--have at it. Problem is now they're fiddling with intelligence programs designed to protect Americans after 9/11. It's nigh on six years after the event so perhaps they think it's fair game but perhaps it's time to move some of these sessions behind closed doors for the public good.
There's also a hypocrisy component. We've not heard even one disparaging remark from the corporate-hating left about Jim Comey's new position with Lockheed Martin, the flagship company of the military industrial complex and one that shares more in common with Halliburton than say Ben and Jerry's. Clearly the BDS tent is so big that perhaps even Newt would be invited in if he would just speak enough truth to power.
And where are the Hispanic Rights advocates rushing to the defense of the Attorney General as he's being hectored by old white guys?
But enough. The issue at hand is whether Gonzales lied about the nature of the double top-secret surveillance program that was supposed to be kept secret but was exposed by the New York Times to accomplish exactly what we're seeing here today. Yes, Schumer, Olbermann and friends are on a defcon five head explosion alert but as the Justice Department spokesman said:
"The disagreement that occurred in March 2004 concerned the legal basis for intelligence activities that have not been publicly disclosed and that remain highly classified," Roehrkasse saidThose desiring a rational discussion of this topic should first read Mr. Comey's testimony from his May Senate appearance while considering this--the so-called hospital drama (which is sure to be in a movie one day starring James Brolin) occurred in March 2004. Mr. Comey--confirmed by the Senate as Deputy AJ on December 9, 2003--barely had time to properly arrange the pictures on his desk when he was handed the AJ hat in the CIA/Plame leak matter. On December 30th he appointed his Southern District of New York friend Patrick "Fitmas" Fitzgerald to investigate the White House, knowing full well Armitage was the leaker. Wonder what kind of discussions these two might have been having about Comey's life in the new administration?
As the new guy Comey couldn't have known as very much about the TSP (or whatever it was called) compared with Ashcroft, who had already renewed it dozens of times. Where is Ashcroft, by the way?
And it's interesting that Mr. Comey didn't highlight the emergency meeting held in the Situation Room in the White House during his testimony. Why was he so suspicious of his new employer after only a few months on the job? One doesn't frantically call the FBI Chief and become belligerent about visiting the White House without moral support on a whim. Again, it makes a person wonder about his mindset and whether the ongoing Plame investigation had any bearing.
We must wonder whether Comey was ever told precisely WHY the TSP was put in place before he made his gallant stand? It's somewhat telling that after meeting with Bush that Friday he altogether abandoned the idea of quitting (as did all the others) and continued happily on at DOJ for another year. So as Yoda said, "I am wondering, why are we here?" Well, maybe because it's dramatic and because Gonzales has done some weird and shifty parsing.
Frankly it's hard to believe he would outright lie on such a matter. He cannot be that stupid. It may well be his attempt to cover some other more deeply clandestine program (was the TSP just a shell to fool the Islamic nuts trying to kill us?) without perjuring himself but if so they're all treading some very dangerous ground. It certainly seems the Dems don't care and would love nothing better than seeing every clandestine program plastered front and center of the Times or Post if they could score one single point against Bush.
Here's my bottom line. If Gonzo lied to Congress he should be Gonezo. Plain and simple. If such occurs hopefully Bush will act on behalf of the party, the DOJ and America and do the right thing. We really don't need another useless SC investigation. If he didn't lie he should stand and fight those smug bastards.
Tom Maguire, who also seems cozy with the notion that Gonzo might be parsing to cover the real program, points to the words of Jane Harmon, at one time a proponent of the program and surely someone who knows of what Gonzales speaks. "Selectively declassifying" can only mean the program was multi-faceted and Gonzo was talking about one of the other facets. That makes him a parser, not a liar, similar to Clinton. Sort of.
Speaking of the NSA, Taxing Tennessee links to an ABC story about how bloggers are going to be treated no differently than the big boys regards FOIA requests and disclosing classified information. Hopefully that means we'll get treated just like the New York Times and Washington Post--in other words, nothing will happen. Then again, in order to leak one must have something important to leak in the first place. The only leaking that goes on around here is, well, never mind.