Alberto Gonzales Senate Testimony

Alberto Gonzales’s testimony yesterday was just more of the same tune that these folks have been singing for years now.

Much like the Iraq “intelligence failures,” it was the process that was flawed.

Gonzales said, "I regret the way in which it was implemented. There were obviously mistakes in the review process."   But Gonzales stands by the outcome.

Like the Iraq War, there were mistakes in the implementation, but the administration stands by the decision to go to war.

And  like the Iraq “intelligence failures,” it was faceless, unidentified bureaucrats who were responsible gaming and manipulating the “process” in what Gonzales constantly referred to as "the consensus judgment of the senior leadership of the department." 

Those U.S. Attorney’s  names just magically appeared on a list.  Gonzales had little idea how they got there, but was aware there was a process.

He took full responsibility for signing off on the list that he maintains he had little or no part in producing, in spite of evidence to the contrary. 

Time and time again he had to say that he didn’t recall important facts about the firings, but maintained that he is doing a good job administering the Justice Department.

He acknowledged that the process was flawed, but somehow manages to believe that the outcome generated by the flawed process is just fine. 

He was asked to detail the reasons for the firing of each of the U.S. Attorneys. I think it’s probable that if one looked at most anyones work performance over time, you’d find mistakes, errors, and screw ups, but the reasons for firing some of the United States Attorney’s are beyond lame. 

For example, the U.S. Attorney for Nevada, Dan Bogden was fired for a “lack of energy” and not prosecuting enough obscenity cases in Nevada.

Much like the “why do you hate the troops” tune, Gonzales, maintained that if you challenge him, you are insulting all of the hardworking, professional civil service workers in the Department of Justice.  This is the same false argument as the “support the troops” theme we so often hear from the Bush Administration.   

One standout was Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Whitehouse tried very had to get Gonzales
to understand that  besides interfering with a particular case,
attempting to send a message to  U.S.
attorneys by firing a few of them for political reasons, would be
improper. Gonzales did not appear to understand the concept.

Senator Orin Hatch was unbelievable.  I thought he was going to come down an hug the guy.  He didn’t really ask questions so much as he tried to bail Gonzales out by feeding him questions that he should have been able to answer. 

At once point, Hatch asked Gonzales how many people worked in the Department of Justice.  Gonzales gave a number of 100,000 plus.  Hatch then tried to get  to make the case that this whole flap concerns only about seven or eight people out of hundreds of thousands of employees in the Department of Justice.

This bonehead line of thinking (If you can call it thinking) seems to assume that  Gonzales personally dealt with each and every personnel issue in the entire Department of Justice.

In any case, Gonzales  appeared to be so incompetent that he didn’t pick up that the guy was trying to bail him out.

Gonzales began his answers to some questions by saying, “That’s a fair question.” One got the impression that these were the questions he had been briefed on, and the ones he thought he could answer.  The impression was left that perhaps Gonzales thought the other questions were not fair questions.

On the other hand, he answered many questions by seemingly reciting the duties and responsibilities of the various sections within the Department of Justice.  It was almost like he had memorized the Welcome To Your New Assignment with the Department of Justice Handbook.

It appears that whenever a question came up that he had been briefed on, or at least he felt he could deal with  he began by saying, “That’s a fair question” and then rattled off his memorized answer.  This technique could lead one to conclude that Gonzales thought the other questions were no fair questions.

All in all, Gonzales pretty much displayed  the level of intelligence, convoluted logic, incompetence, and lack of candor that we have come to expect from members of the Bush Administration.

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