Lest We Forget: Gonzales Appeared to Obstruct Justice in the Plame Affair

Do not forget that Gonzales — nominated to be the nation's top cop — is the guy who when the Plame investigation was bearing down on the White House ensured that the guilty parties had all the time they could want to shred everything incriminating:

Senator Harkin, quoted in the Congressional Record (emphasis added):

Let me give a quick recap of the timeline. It started with the President's deception in his State of the Union Address in January. In his remarks, Mr. Bush stated Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. A few months later, in July, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's op-ed appears in the New York Times, questioning the President's assertion.

Then in order to discredit Wilson and “seek revenge'' on Wilson, senior administration officials leaked to the press the identity of Wilson's wife and the fact she was a CIA operative, thereby undercutting our national security and clearly violating Federal law.

This happened in early July. Let's see what happened since.

On July 24, Senator Schumer calls on the FBI Director to open a criminal investigation into the leak of a CIA operative based on that column.

In late July, the FBI notified Senator Schumer that they had done an inquiry into the CIA.

Then it appears nothing happened for 2 months.

On September 23, the Attorney General says he and CIA Director Tenet sent a memo to the FBI requesting an investigation.

On September 26, the Department of Justice officially launches its investigation.

Interestingly, it took 4 days after that “official'' launch for the Justice Department to call White House Counsel Gonzales and notify him of the official investigation. Gonzalez then asked for an extra day before the Justice Department gave the White House the official notice, which means all documents and records must be preserved.

A recent letter was sent to the President from Senators Daschle, Schumer, Levin, and Biden which also expresses concern about this break from regular procedure.

They wrote:

Every former prosecutor with whom we have spoken has said that the first step in such an investigation would be to ensure all potentially relevant evidence is preserved, yet the Justice Department waited four days before making a formal request for documents.

Interestingly, the letter goes on:

When the Justice Department finally asked the White House to order employees to preserve documents, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales asked for permission to delay transmitting the order to preserve evidence until morning. The request for a delay was granted. Again, every former prosecutor with whom we have spoken has said that such a delay is a significant departure from standard practice.

That is what has been happening—departure from standard practice.

I am also troubled that the White House Counsel's Office is serving
as “gatekeeper'” for all the documents the Justice Department has requested from the White House. Mr. Gonzales' office said he would not rule out seeking to withhold documents under a claim of executive privilege or national security.

What kind of a zoo is this outfit?

Mr. Gonzales says he can withhold these documents from this investigation on the basis of national security.

Don't care about liberal goo-goo stuff like Geneva conventions and torture? How about outing CIA agents and obstruction of justice?

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5 Responses to Lest We Forget: Gonzales Appeared to Obstruct Justice in the Plame Affair

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  3. Mojo says:

    This move will make the government much more efficient. Gonzalez already knows which documents not to request from the White House. And, if he must request incriminating documents, he knows exactly how fast the shredders work so he can time the request with enough delay that there won’t need to be another embarrassing “request” for a further delay. Of course his primary value will be his ability to find the loopholes in the Treaty of Ghent in case we need leverage to keep the British in the Coalition. If he can figure out that the Geneva Conventions don’t really apply to the US if we don’t feel like it and the Vienna Convention doesn’t apply to Texas, getting out of a pitiful little treaty should be a snap.

    “Be a shame if one of your islands was to break. Things do break you know.”

  4. Not to mention the 57 people executed in the State of Texas with Gonzalez’s decidedly slanted and biased briefs purporting to offer Bush the legal view…and his continuation of his fiction career with the support of torture outsourcing and, of course, my favorite, his receipt of a contribution from Halliburton and failure to recuse himself just before ruling on a 2.6 million dollar judgment against them (guess who won)…and that’s not even mentioning he used to be with Vinson & Elkins, their lawyers in texas, and the same firm hired by Enron to conduct a hush hush investigation into the widescale criminal behavior in that company (and accused of passing out insider information to firm shareholders with Enron stock).

    But my favorite was the San Francisco Chronicle article I read that suggested Gonzalez’s big assistance came in the form of getting Bush off of jury duty in 1996 and saving him from having to disclose his ’76 arrest for DUI.

    Enron later contributed to his 2000 campaign to remain on the Supreme Court in Texas, too. And of course that has nothing to do with his actions to keep Cheney’s notes re: Ken Lay a nice tidy secret…

    Who’m I kidding. This guy’s made for the job.

    —–

  5. Pingback: TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime

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