View Full Version : Gonzales' Appalling Disregard For Liberties

07-17-2007, 10:59 AM
Gonzales' appalling disregard for liberties


Published July 17, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is amassing a disturbing record for what Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness." Some critics accuse him of lying to Congress, which is a crime by the way. Others suggest that his inaccurate testimony is due to incompetence. Either way Gonzales is a disgrace to the office.

The latest bombshell comes from a Washington Post report revealing that six days before Gonzales told Congress "there has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse" under the USA Patriot Act, he had received a report from the FBI stating that there had been such abuse.

In fact, in the months before Gonzales' 2005 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he had been given at least a half-dozen reports indicating that the FBI had improperly used its powers under the act. This included unauthorized electronic surveillance, the illegal search of property and the obtaining of personal information the agency wasn't entitled to under a National Security Letter - an investigative tool greatly expanded under the Patriot Act and one of the more controversial aspects of the measure.

At the time, Gonzales was trying to convince lawmakers to reauthorize the Patriot Act. His false claims that there were no civil liberties problems undoubtedly carried weight in the debate, and the act was reauthorized.

Later, a Justice Department inspector general report blasted the FBI for its disregard for civil liberties in its misuse of National Security Letters and the abuses engendered as a result.

Gonzales had received at least three separate letters notifying him of NSL violations before the inspector general's report was released in March 2007, according to the Post. But Gonzales claimed to have been blind-sided by the report's revelations.

President Bush is sticking by his attorney general because Gonzales has proven that he will bend the truth and the law to serve the president's purposes. That seems to be enough for a president with little patience for our system's checks and balances, but it isn't enough for a great nation of laws. Whether dishonest or incompetent, Gonzales should be shown the door.