Saturday, March 17, 2007

Criminal behavior

Dear reader, you may be forgiven for wondering about the brouhaha revolving aroung the firing a a few United States Attorneys. What's the big deal? These people serve (as has oft been repeated in the last few days) at the pleasure of the president. He can fire them whenever he wants. Nothing criminal here.

But if it's truly the non-story that GOPers and their mouthpieces at Fox Noise say it is, what are we to make of the Whitehouse's confused attempts to explain away their behavior?

Just to bring you up to date on the Whitehouse's evolving lies account of the firings of the Gonzales 8 (in chronological order):

  1. Just a routine personnel matter, nothing to see here.
  2. The firings were because the selected attorneys were incompetent, and you know how big we are on competence.
  3. Maybe the firings were political, but we can do that, 'cos y'know Clinton did it, so it must be ok.
  4. The firings weren''t political, and even if they were AG Gonzales didn't know about it, it's Kyle Sampson's (Gonzales' chief of staff) fault.
  5. It's Harriet Miers' fault. Karl Rove was just trying to reign in the politicization of the DoJ.
  6. It's not Harriet's fault, we don't remember whose fault it is, but we're sure it's not the President's.
If you're confused I don't blame you. But what do you expect from this Whitehouse, truth?

(If you'll pardon the webese: ROFLMAO!!!!!!)


For a clear view of what's really going on I'd suggest my own brief analysis.

And for extensive coverage you can't do better than the guy who's been pounding this story so hard even the MSM and Congress sat up and took notice, the blogosphere's own Josh Marshall.

At the moment though I'd like to look at a brief passage buried in today's Washington Post article on the latest iteration of the WH's version of events.

Many of the documents released over the past week were sent or received by Sampson, whose resignation, Gonzales and other Justice officials said, was prompted by his failure to tell others in the department about his contacts with the White House, leading to testimony by McNulty and others that may have been misleading.

Sampson disputed that version of events in his statement last night, saying he "felt he had let the attorney general down in failing to . . . organize a more effective political response to the unfounded accusations of impropriety in the replacement process."

Sampson's statement also suggested that his contacts with the White House were well known within Justice. If the contacts were not brought to the attention of McNulty and others, the statement said, it was "because no one focused on it or deemed it important at the time." [Emphasis mine-CK)

Though clearly intended to back up his "we didn't do anything wrong" defense, Sampson's intentionally self-serving statement holds, for me, a glimmer of the truth.

Remember, this was back in 2005. Bush had just received the "mandate" of an actual electoral victory (as opposed to his appointment by the Supreme Court in 2000) and the Bushies were riding high. Time to clean house.

And what better place to start than with some US attorneys who either hadn't shown proper enthusiasm for prosecuting Democrats or even (gasp, the horror, the horror) had had the temerity to prosecute Republicans.

I'm suggesting that to a Whitehouse where policy IS politics, politicizing the prosecution of the law of the land was no big deal. Business as usual.

So while, to you or I, subverting the criminal justice system might seem an attack on this country's fundamental principal of the rule of law, to those serving King George it was standard operating procedure.

And that's the real crime.

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