And You Thought He'd Bottomed Out
You know how bad a guardian of the law Alberto Gonzales is?
We knew that--any updates?
Yes. It turns out that Alberto Gonzales is such a bad guardian of the law that he makes John Ashcroft look like a fearless crusader for civil liberties.
In testimony before the Senate judiciary committee today, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said that on March 10, 2004, then-White House Counsel Gonzales and then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card rushed to Ashcroft's hospital bed to pressure him to renew the NSA's domestic warrantless wiretap program. The then-secret program needed the attorney general's periodic approval of the president's authorization in order to continue, and the deadline for that approval was March 11.
Ashcroft told Gonzales and Card to go screw. Moreover, he told them to go screw twice over because even if he had wanted to sign the re-authorization, he couldn't have. Comey had already assumed the office of Attorney General for the duration of the emergency gall bladder surgery that had put Ashcroft in the hospital that night.
So in trying to pressure Ashcroft to sign the re-authorization, Card and Gonzales weren't just attempting (and failing) to make a sick and borderline delirious man sign an important document against his will. They were doing so in order to get a signature that, exactly like the program it was supposed to authorize, would've had no legal validity anyway.
Perhaps even worse, Alberto Gonzales is such a douche-awful guardian of the law that he makes President Bush look like a crusader for professional conscience and competence.
When Card and Gonzales tried to convince the President to go ahead with the plan--as it was in place then--even without the legally necessary authorization, Bush learned that Ashcroft, Comey, FBI director Robert Mueller, and other high-ranking Justice officials were planning to resign in protest. Bush told Card and Gonzales that the program needed fixing before it could continue.
I mean, it clearly wasn't a sufficient fix, but jeez. When George W. Bush thinks you're demanding too much blind loyalty and John Ashcroft thinks you're not respecting civil liberties, you're... well, you're what we already thought. Only, miraculously, even worse.