Mr Giggles Doesn’t Work

While I continue to fight my summer malaise and have nothing intelligent or clever to say, you may as well head over to Slate and read Dahlia Lithwick’s latest on her favorite Attorney General – Mr. Giggles – Alberto Gonzales.

Her take is a must read on his latest faux pas, as reported yesterday in the Washington Post. The jist is that Gonzales testified to Congress that “there has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse.” This after getting a number of reports from the FBI detailing exactly that. One predating his testimony only by a couple of days.

From the Washington Post piece,

As he sought to renew the USA Patriot Act two years ago, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales assured lawmakers that the FBI had not abused its potent new terrorism-fighting powers. “There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse,” Gonzales told senators on April 27, 2005.

Six days earlier, the FBI sent Gonzales a copy of a report that said its agents had obtained personal information that they were not entitled to have. It was one of at least half a dozen reports of legal or procedural violations that Gonzales received in the three months before he made his statement to the Senate intelligence committee, according to internal FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The acts recounted in the FBI reports included unauthorized surveillance, an illegal property search and a case in which an Internet firm improperly turned over a compact disc with data that the FBI was not entitled to collect, the documents show. Gonzales was copied on each report that said administrative rules or laws protecting civil liberties and privacy had been violated.

My take – Gonzales should claim the DOJ hadn’t verified the information, thus taking a legal wiggle in a painful but perhaps bizarrely erotic right wing manner.

Lithwick’s take – Gonzales has just stopped trying to claim he is incompetent and is now just claiming he doesn’t actually do anything.

Her take is probably better.

While you’re at Slate, you might want to read Fred Kaplan’s evisseration of George W. Bush’s latest speech on Iraq. There are three important take away points.

Bush not only didn’t say anything new, he didn’t actually include any factoids in the speech at all – just justifications of faith and belief. Not even the Bush spin doctors nor the Fox News channel can find any good news coming out of Iraq. (Of course Fox just stopped covering the war at some point.)

Second, Bush seems to be asking for a pass until September. When the surge report comes in, he will claim you need several months to analyse it. Following that, you can start discussing ideas, making stratergy. Plans can first be drawn up some time in December; actions much later. It’s his classic Bait and Switch but I doubt even the Republicans in Congress will play along.

Finally – Kaplan points out a change in tone. Bush didn’t create the plan in the first place; the surge was all Petraeus’ idea. Bush just passively listened to his generals. Again. Pesky generals.

Because neither Mr. Giggles nor his boss really do anything. Ever!

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