By Anthony D. Romero
The Woeful Gonzales Record
Mon Jun 11, 2007 15:39

 
The Woeful Gonzales Record
By Anthony D. Romero

An Open Letter to Members of the Senate:

As you move towards the debate and no-confidence vote on Attorney
General Alberto Gonzales I hope you will carefully review his woeful
record and its recurring theme: Alberto Gonzales as George W.
Bush's Number One "Yes" Man.

>From the beginning, Gonzales has sought to shape the law according to
the president's wishes. Through his legal maneuvering, he has
authorized criminal behavior as White House counsel and refused to
prosecute that same criminal behavior as attorney general. He created
and navigated legal avenues for the president and his administration
to use torture and indefinite detention. And now, as attorney general,
he has refused to investigate those programs.

As the ACLU details in a newly updated report
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=Y1zCuP2YxaymIjv59iTkkQ..

on the Attorney General's civil liberties record, he has
abdicated his responsibility to protect the rights of Americans, and
exercises a cynical view of what he seems to consider petty matters
like the rule of law and the Constitution. Calls for Congressional
oversight yield only uncooperative and misleading testimony.

But the testimony of others has been far more revealing. Take the
riveting words of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who
described how, like in a scene out of a bad novel, then-White House
counsel Gonzales and then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card paid
a March 2004 nighttime visit on a gravely ill and heavily sedated
Ashcroft, lying in his intensive care unit hospital bed. Gonzales and
Card tried unsuccessfully to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize
President Bush's domestic surveillance program, which the
Justice Department had just determined was illegal. Is browbeating a
gravely ill man in pursuit of a lawless policy the action of a
responsible and upright office holder? Of course not -- although it does
yield the startling nugget that, for a brief shining moment, Attorney
General John Ashcroft was actually on the ACLU's side of an
issue.

And consider how Gonzales has repeatedly stood up in favor of the
prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a facility where the denial of habeas
corpus and harsh, indefinite detention has shamed the U.S.
internationally. Look too at "yes" man counsel Gonzales,
writing a 2002 memorandum that referred to some Geneva Convention
restrictions as "quaint" and the portion on questioning
enemy prisoners "obsolete." That's exactly the sort
of attitude that led him -- in both the White House and at Justice -- to
subordinate and twist the law that permitted actual torture and abuse
on America's watch, while allowing high-level government
officials to get off scot-free.

There's much more. Under Gonzales, the Justice Department has
failed to pursue violations of civil rights and voting rights laws. He
has failed to investigate and prosecute criminal acts committed by
civilians in the torture or abuse of detainees, failed to investigate
and prosecute criminal acts and violations of the law resulting from
the warrantless spying program, and championed renewal of the Patriot
Act despite widespread bipartisan civil liberties concerns. His
department's own inspector general discovered that the FBI
underreported, misused and otherwise abused the Patriot Act's
National Security Letter provisions.

The attorney general failed to investigate possible perjury by a top
general about abusive interrogation techniques, his department
reversed the findings of its panel of experts that a Georgia voter
identification law would discriminate against minorities, and further
failed to uphold his duties as attorney general by forcing out
experienced career attorneys in Justice's Civil Rights Division
and replacing them with less experienced, political loyalists.

This didn't just start in Washington, of course. Back home in
Texas, Gonzales drafted the infamous clemency memos for Governor Bush,
which failed to mention key factors in each case including evidence of
innocence that supported clemency for death row inmates.

The president and the attorney general are a tight-knit crew. The
attorney general provides tailor-made legal support for the president;
the president reciprocates with unwavering political support.
It's a cozy relationship for those two, but disastrous for our
nation and its rule of law. "No confidence" doesn't
even begin to cover it.


***************************************************
Demand Accountability:

With Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the helm, the United States
Justice Department has become a contradiction in terms. Under his
leadership the Constitution and the rights of Americans have been
consistently undermined. Sign the petition to Restore Our
Constitutional Rights to send a loud and clear message to Congress:
it's time to restore the Constitution and respect for the rule of law.

On June 26th, we'll be delivering our petitions in person during our
Day of Action. We've already collected nearly 70,000 signatures -- help
us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures. Sign the petition today:
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=QMF7eM890bgcK92sexym9A..

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