“In politics stupidity is not a handicap”

There is something missing from the net, from Republican newspaper columnists, from right-wing media pundits, and the christisnists. That missing something is the outrage over the lack of values in the office of the nation’s highest law enforcement official. Emails detail plans for firing U.S. attorneys

Deflecting calls to resign, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged Tuesday that he mishandled the firings of eight U.S. attorneys as new details emerged about the Bush administration’s efforts to oust prosecutors who had fallen out of favor.

Internal memos between the Justice Department and the White House show that administration officials were determined to bypass Congress in selecting replacements for eight U.S. attorneys who were forced to resign. The memos include a five-step plan for executing the dismissals and dealing the anticipated political firestorm.

“We’re a go for the US Atty plan,” White House aide William Kelley notified the Justice Department on Dec. 4, three days before seven of the eight U.S. attorneys were told to step down. “WH leg, political, and communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes.”

“WH leg” refers to the White House legislative affairs office, which works closely with members of Congress.

Where is the long article from the wingers at the Wall Street Journal decrying the effect on our culture and where are the long serious faces at Fox worried about the attorney general and the president conspiring to use the law and ideologically pure lawyers to accomplish their political goals. There are PDFs of the e-mails at the link. Josh Marshall has a timeline of events. While it may technically squeak under the wire as far as legality the main tool that was used in replacing U.S. attorneys was the Patriot Act. There is no element of national security that the Bush Cult has not exploited for its political ends. Remember all the comments about some of the surviving families of 9-11, many of whom have been critical of Bush being accused of using their loss as a shield against responding to their criticisms. It is simply been a matter of course over the last five years for conservatives to hide their malice behind the gauze of national security. CREW wants Special Prosecutor to investigate potential criminal violations in U.S. Attorney firings.

In the past few months, Department of Justice (DOJ) officials have testified before Congress that the U.S. Attorneys were asked to resign for performance related reasons, that the White House was minimally involved in the firings and that the Department was in no way attempting to evade the confirmation process for new U.S. Attorneys.

Documents provided by the DOJ to Congress suggest that at least one high-ranking official, D. Kyle Sampson, knew that the statements made to Congress were untrue. If, as it appears, a Department of Justice official allowed other officials to provide inaccurate information to Congress, federal crimes may have been committed. Because DOJ obviously cannot investigate and prosecute the misconduct of its own officials, CREW has called on the attorney general to appoint a Special Prosecutor to handle this matter.

It is clear that at least two officials, former White House Legal Counsel Harriet Miers and Sampson, schemed to fire prosecutors for political reasons. According to press reports, Sampson has acknowledged that he did not tell DOJ officials about the extent of his communications with the White House regarding the firings. Justice officials who testified before Congress, including the attorney general, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and Principal Associate Attorney General William Moschella, all told Congress that the White House, though consulted, was not deeply involved in the firing decisions.

Federal law provides that if Sampson knew that he was causing DOJ officials to make inaccurate statements to Congress, he can be prosecuted for the federal crime of lying to Congress even though he did not personally make any statements to Congress.

CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) also points out that at least three members of Congress – Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Representative Doc Hasting (R-WA) have been found to have made improper contact with some of the fired attorneys. Pardon the use of the much over used phrase must read, but WaPO steps up to plate with the first in a series (they are capable of doing that on occasion despite Howell’s right-wing pandering), Alberto Gonzales: A Willing Accessory at Justice

During Gonzales’ confirmation hearing in January 2005, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D. Vt.), then ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said “the job of attorney general is not about crafting rationalizations for ill-conceived ideas; it’s a much more vital role than that. Attorney general is about being a forceful, independent — independent — voice in our continuing quest for justice in defense of the constitutional rights of every single American.” Leahy back then expressed his concern that Gonzales did not possess the temperament, training, will, or motive to act independently from the man, President Bush, to whom Gonzales has served in one way or another ever since they both came to public service. Many others since have echoed those sentiments.

Senators Leahy was right of course, but anyone whose patriotism wasn’t clouded by loyalty to the neocon cause and President Fake Cowboy knew that ol’ Gonzales was Bush’s tool and being a tool was his main qualification for the job. Albert has carried Bush’s water for years, did any rational person think that when it came time to choose between carrying out Unka Karl’s agenda and looking out for the United States of America that this AG would choose to do what was best for America first. Even to entertain the thought that a Bush loyalist would put his country and the rule of law first is enough to make you spew milk through your nose. The CarpetBagger also has a good chronology of events up, The dirge of the purge, and this post – The inane ‘Clinton did it too’ defense

In 1993, Clinton replaced H.W. Bush’s prosecutors. In 2001, Bush replaced Clinton’s prosecutors. None of this is remotely unusual. Indeed, it’s how the process is designed.

The difference with the current scandal is overwhelming. Bush replaced eight specific prosecutors, apparently for purely political reasons. This is entirely unprecedented. For conservatives to argue, as many are now, that Clinton’s routine replacements for H.W. Bush’s USAs is any way similar is the height of intellectual dishonesty. They know better, but hope their audience is too uninformed to know the difference.

The Clinton defense is almost always the one the Right uses when they’ve been caught on tape with a gun in one hand a bag of cash in the other running from the scene of the crime – damn we’ve been caught red-handed – oh I know we’ll say that Clinton did it first. Of course they always leave out the details because of their allergy to truthiness.

The caption to this ABC story is very misleading, Exclusive: Curveball, the Defector Whose Lies Led to War

Powell told ABC News he is “angry and disappointed” that he was never told the CIA had doubts about the reliability of the source.

“I spent four days at CIA headquarters, and they told me they had this nailed,” Powell said.

Behind the scenes at the CIA, however, a former senior official says he was trying to keep the Curveball information out of the Powell speech.

“People died because of this,” said Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of European operations at the CIA, who has written about it in a new book, “On the Brink.” “All off this one little guy who all he wanted to do was stay in Germany.”

Drumheller says he personally redacted all references to Curveball material in an advance draft of the Powell speech.

“We said, ‘This is from Curveball. Don’t use this,'” Drumheller says. Powell says neither he nor his chief of staff Col. Larry Wilkerson was ever told of any doubts about Curveball.

Curveball’s lies didn’t lead to the invasion of Iraq the administrations simply used this toad’s bizarre story as part of its case because they wanted to. Or to put it another way, Beyond Quagmire

(General) McPeak: This is a dark chapter in our history. Whatever else happens, our country’s international standing has been frittered away by people who don’t have the foggiest understanding of how the hell the world works. America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn’t make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes a big difference.

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.” – Napoleon Bonaparte