Road to Hell News Roundup

There are some major developments in the White House’s campaign to destroy the Bill of Rights this week. These developments are largely being overlooked as we watch the Middle East go up in smoke, of course.

Yesterday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush personally blocked 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,” Murray Waas writes.

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.

“The president of the United States makes the decision,” Gonzales said in response to a question by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who wanted to know who denied the clearances to the investigators.

The statement by Gonzales stunned some senior Justice Department officials, who were led to believe that Gonzales himself had made the decision to deny the clearances after consulting with intelligence agencies whose activities would be scrutinized, a senior federal law enforcement official said in an interview.

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) launched the investigation in January at the request of some House Democrats. White House mouthpiece Tony Snow told reporters yesterday that Bush blocked the OPR investigation because OPR was not the “proper venue” for such an investigation, which is nonsense. See TalkLeft for more background.

Word is that Sen. Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is determined to bring his bogus “National Security Surveillance Act of 2006” (S2453) bill to a vote this week. The Judiciary Committee web site says the full committee will be meeting to discuss this bill tomorrow.

For background on why the bill is bogus, see Glenn Greenwald here and here. See also Shayana Kadidal at the Huffington Post.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence today is holding an open hearing to discuss “Modernizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).” You can watch it on CSPAN3 beginning at 10 a.m. You might remember that committee chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), wrote a letter to the White House complaining that Congress was not being informed of some secret intelligence programs. See emptywheel’s analysis to see why Hoekstra’s motives are more about Hoekstra than about the separation of powers.

7 thoughts on “Road to Hell News Roundup

  1. Pingback: The Heretik

  2. Can you say “obstruction of justice”? It seems to me that if the Democrats recapture the House that articles of impeachment might finally end our national nightmare–a nightmare that gets scarier and scarier as the inadequacies of Dumbya and his sycophants multiply with each passing day.

  3. Inside the mind of a criminal who also gets to be ‘the decider’, there will never be any venue allowed to investigate his actions.

  4. “You can fool some of the people all the time” etc.

    Life is a circus

  5. I heard Dana Nelson this afternoon. She was touting her book.
    Podcast at “Against the Grain”

    Her book is from Duke University Press

    AmBushed: The Costs of Machtpolitik
    Dana D. Nelson
    a special issue of SAQ (105:1)

    268 pages (December 2005)

    ISBN 0-8223-6645-2 Paperback – $14
    The 2004 reelection of President George W. Bush came as a shock to many politically liberal American citizens and intellectuals who opposed his first administration and its controversial policies and politics. Aimed at this “amBushed” political constituency, AmBushed, a special issue of SAQ, dares to ask how Bush’s reelection took so many by surprise and—through an analysis of the Bush administration and how it garners political strength and executes its policies—examines the way in which the political Left may regain its footing. The diverse perspectives—from respected intellectuals and scholars from the United States and abroad—reflect a range of opinions within democracy and intend to stimulate a constructive debate, fostering the development of new strategies to strengthen and improve the political agenda and efficacy of the Left.

    One essay argues that the Left has ceded its political vision—forgoing active political organization in favor of simply voicing political criticism of the president—allowing its activist sensibilities and abilities to atrophy. Others explore the Bush administration, its masterful machtpolitik (power politics), its strategic feminization of its opposition, its aggressive expansion of executive-branch powers, and its flirtation with what some have labeled American fascism or totalitarianism; still others reflect on how the Left has insulated itself from both reality and politics. A contributor from South Africa draws parallels between apartheid proponents and their tactics and President Bush. Others analyze “Bush II” as the leader of the Christian Right, as a skillful exploiter and manipulator of the mainstream media, as the chief spokesman for “evangelical capitalism,” and as the world’s most powerful lobbyist for corporate interests.

  6. Only the road to Hell was supposed to be paved with good intentions. Haven’t seen any of those.

Comments are closed.