interfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees;Today, the AP is reporting that:
President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the anti-terror eavesdropping program that intercepts Americans' international calls and e-mails, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday.Here's more from the AP:
Bush refused to grant security clearances for department investigators who were looking into the role Justice lawyers played in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency listens in on telephone calls and reads e-mail without court approval, Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee.The president made the decision to refuse the security clearances - and that stopped a DOJ investigation. Or as Murray Waas put it:
Without access to the sensitive program, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility closed its investigation in April.
"It was highly classified, very important and many other lawyers had access. Why not OPR?" Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., the committee chairman, asked Gonzales.
"The president of the United States makes the decision," Gonzales replied.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today that President Bush personally halted an internal Justice Department investigation into whether Gonzales and other senior department officials acted within the law in approving and overseeing the administration's domestic surveillance program.Waas adds:
The investigation, by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, was halted when lawyers who were going to conduct the investigation were denied the security clearances that would have allowed them to view classified documents related to the surveillance program. President Bush made the decision to deny the security clearances for the investigators, Gonzales said in his testimony today.So the documents were already AT the DOJ.
Of course Tony Snow (formerly of Fox "News") spun it as best he could (from the AP):
The president did not consider the Justice unit that functions as a legal ethics watchdog to be the "proper venue," Snow said.So this administration (the same administration that lied about Iraq's WMD and that leaked information about a CIA operative to punish that operative's husband) thinks they get to decide the "proper venue" for an ethics probe? On what basis? Trust? Guess again, my friends.
"What he was saying is that in the case of a highly classified program, you need to keep the number of people exposed to it tight for reasons of national security, and that's what he did," Snow said.
And I could be wrong, but didn't Tony Snow just say that the reason Bush denied those security clearances is because you can't trust the investigators from the United States Department of Justice to keep a secret?
What incredibly huge balls. We're talking gargantuan testicles, the kind that make it difficult to sit down.
A senior Justice official said that the refusal to grant the clearances was "unprecedented" and questioned whether the clearances were denied because investigators might find "misconduct by those who were attempting to defeat" the probe from being conducted. The official made the comments without knowing that Bush had made the decision to refuse the clearances.Unprecedented - yeow!
We'll paraphrase John Dean - it's worse than Watergate, because he's worse than Nixon.
Technorati tags:Bush, Richard Nixon, Impeachment