Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beat the Clock

After months of probing the politicization of the Justice Department via the US Attorney firings, the Senate Judiciary Committee have voted 13-3 to issue subpoenas to the White House, the Vice President's office, The Justice Department and the National Security Council regarding the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's startling testimony that revealed how then White House flacks, Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card tried to end-run around D0J objections to the wiretapping program has prompted the committee to explore the issue further. The subpoenas come from a larger question regarding White House influence in the DoJ and over now Attorney General and still White House flack, Alberto Gonzales.

The agencies and offices have until July 18 to comply with the request for documents surrounding the program. DoJ spokesman, Dean Boyd, said that the Gonzales subpoena is "under review." I doubt anyone, including Gonzales, knows what that even means given what the performances of Justice Department officials have demonstrated lately.
AG: We have reviewed the subpoena and, after careful consideration, have decided that the Justice Department cannot comply with the order.

Q: Who reviewed the subpoena and when?

AG: I don't know. I wasn't in the loop.
Chairman of the committee, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) said in letters to the White House that,
Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection. There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee,
while White House lip-moving person, Tony Fratto, said that the White House "will respond appropriately." Which means that Congress can expect a completely inappropriate response and that that response will be no response at all.

Except that the expected showdown will wind up in federal court. Given that the Bush administration has only eighteen months left to wait out the congressional subpoenas and the fact that the US legal system took 2 years to settle lawsuit over a lost pair of pants, chances are that the Bushies will be able to wrangle this in court for as long as they need to.


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