We tear you away from the drama of restroom dating to turn once again to the saga of Alberto Gonzales.
From U.S. News & World Report:
The Mess He Left Behind
Gonzales’s successor will face daunting challenges at a scandal-plagued agency
Original DVD cover.
More from the article:
Gonzales’s inability to explain—or even, he said, remember—whether politics played an undue role in the department’s hiring, firing, and prosecution decisions turned the former Texas Supreme Court judge and presidential confidant into a symbol of all that was wrong inside the 110,000-person bureaucracy.
In addition to the U.S. attorney dismissals, the department has been under fire for alleged political influence on cases handled by the civil rights division. The department could come in for even more criticism when Inspector General Glenn Fine releases his reports into whether any wrongdoing occurred. And Fine confirmed last week that he is looking into whether Gonzales lied to Congress about a number of issues, including the NSA program and the U.S. attorney scandal.
The Justice Department may also butt heads with Congress over the expiration next year of recent changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which expanded the department’s ability to screen E-mails and phone calls inside and outside the United States without judicial scrutiny.
Congress is also likely to continue prodding the department over other long-standing concerns: the future of Guantánamo, renewed calls for immigration reform, and the FBI’s use of national security letters. An inspector general’s report found that the FBI has routinely used these letters—authorization without court review to obtain personal information about suspects in national security investigations—without proper basis, potentially violating civil liberties.
From the beginning of his rise with George W. Bush until the day of his abrupt resignation, Alberto Gonzales was anointed, directed and protected by Karl Rove. At the Department of Justice, Gonzales served as Rove’s figurehead. In the real line of authority, the attorney general, a constitutional officer, reported to the White House political aide. Bush did not nickname Gonzales “Fredo,” after the weak brother in “The Godfather,” without reason.
As White House counsel and attorney general, Gonzales operated as the rubber stamp of the two great goals of the Bush presidency — the concentration of unaccountable power in the executive and the subordination of executive departments and agencies to partisan political imperatives. Vice President Cheney directed the project for the imperial presidency, while Rove took charge of the top-down politicization of the federal government. Gonzales dutifully signed memos abrogating the Geneva Conventions against torture, calling them “quaint,” and approved the dismissal of U.S. attorneys for insufficient partisan zeal.
Rove ran the Department of Justice like a personal fiefdom as Gonzales reigned there as his vassal lord. The civil rights division was gutted, more than 60 percent of its professional staff forced out; and since 2001, not a single discrimination case was filed. The antitrust division became a favor bank. Rove granted dispensations to companies, including those seeking to override laws involving foreign purchases of U.S. assets with national security implications, a former government official involved in such a case told me.
From the start, Rove and Gonzales were secret sharers. But one was “the Architect” and the other was “Fredo.” With Rove’s resignation, Gonzales lost the political and policy hand that had guided him all along. When the puppet master departed, the puppet collapsed in a heap.