Thursday, July 26, 2007

Busted

I know I’m not the first blogger to use that headline, but that’s all I could come up with when I saw this headline from the AP:

Documents contradict Gonzales’ testimony

That’s a passive-voice way of saying that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee when he testified earlier this week.

At a heated Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Gonzales repeatedly testified that the issue at hand was not about the terrorist surveillance program, which allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on suspects in the United States without receiving court approval.

Instead, Gonzales said, the emergency meetings on March 10, 2004, focused on an intelligence program that he would not describe.

Gonzales, who was then serving as counsel to Bush, testified that the White House Situation Room briefing sought to inform congressional leaders about the pending expiration of the unidentified program and Justice Department objections to renew it. Those objections were led by then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey, who questioned the program’s legality.

“The dissent related to other intelligence activities,” Gonzales testified at Tuesday’s hearing. “The dissent was not about the terrorist surveillance program.”

“Not the TSP?” responded Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “Come on. If you say it’s about other, that implies not. Now say it or not.”

“It was not,” Gonzales answered. “It was about other intelligence activities.”

A four-page memo from the national intelligence director’s office shows that the White House briefing with the eight lawmakers on March 10, 2004, was about the terror surveillance program, or TSP.

The memo, dated May 17, 2006, and addressed to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, details “the classification of the dates, locations, and names of members of Congress who attended briefings on the Terrorist Surveillance Program,” wrote then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.

All we need now is Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC to walk in with his camera crew.

The inevitable and predictable response from the White House and the Department of Justice will be that Mr. Gonzales did not lie to the committee and that he stands by his testimony in spite of the numerous opportunities given him to correct or clarify his testimony both during the hearing and after. And of course there will be the usual chorus of righties who will defend Mr. Gonzales and say that there really were other programs, and hint darkly at the motives of those who have testified against Mr. Gonzales. This sounds remarkably like the obfuscation and parsing that went on during the last years of the Clinton administration when the president was clearly caught in a lie and his apologists came up with all sorts of excuses then. I didn’t like it then, and I sure as hell don’t like it now.

And neither did the wingnuts. They demanded the head (or something else) of Bill Clinton on a platter for lying about a blow job. They brushed aside all the excuses, they sneered at the VRWC, they demanded justice and impeachment. But faced with a similar situation, the wingnuts and the administration are coming up with excuses, alibis, and parsing that makes the definition of the word “is” as clear as mother’s milk. And yet they say they are the ones with the high moral standards. Maybe it’s because nobody — as far as we know — is getting a blow job. Maybe that’s what it takes to really get things going.

Okay, any volunteers?

Didn’t think so.