Gonzales shut down probe of Gonzales last year

News & Politics

In a brand new article Murray Waas writes that Bush's Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recommended that the president shut down an investigation into domestic spying last year, knowing full well that a part of that investigation focused on Gonzales himself.

How many smoking guns can you fit in a Volkswagen Beetle?

Last year, in defending the president's decision to shut down the investigation, Gonzales noted that "the president of the United States makes the decision," writing to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

"The president decided that protecting the secrecy and security of the program requires that a strict limit be placed on the number of persons granted access to information about the program for non-operational reasons... Every additional security clearance that is granted for the [program] increases the risk that national security might be compromised."
Of course, recusing himself would've sent up flags. So Bush's A.G. just sent his recommendation and shut up. The Washington Postnoted at the time that Bush's decision represented "an unusually direct and unprecedented White House intervention into an investigation."

Waas writes that senior officials who'd clashed with Gonzales in the past were among the first to be interviewed in the ill-fated investigation into the NSA spying program:
Investigators from the Office of Professional Responsibility notified senior aides to Gonzales early last year that the first two people they intended to interview were Jack Goldsmith, who had been an assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, and James A. Baker, the counsel for Justice's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. Both men had raised questions about the propriety and legality of various aspects of the eavesdropping program, which was undertaken after September 11 as an anti-terrorism tool.
Gonzales, according to Justice Department officials, was aware that opponents of his decisions were to be interviewed.

Waas provides many more details and ties this quashed investigation into the Administration's drive for unlimited power...

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