The Inartful Dodger?

  • Follow Editorials

Beaver Cleaver could have warned him: It's not always what you do that gets you in trouble; it's lying about it.

We're not sure Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied about his role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, but he may have badly misled Congress about it.

In testimony to Congress, Gonzales avowed no role whatsoever in the firings; but documents subsequently released to Congress indicate he may have.

That the attorney general would have a role in such a firing is unremarkable. Actually, what would be remarkable is if, as he initially indicated, he had no role.

What would be even more remarkable, however, is if he did have a role and misled Congress about it. Such an inartful dodge would be totally unnecessary, given the administration's unquestionable power to fire U.S. attorneys at will.

It would also be a legitimate reason for seeking Gonzales' resignation. We cannot have an attorney general who even shades the truth, particularly in court or before Congress.

"We never had a discussion about where things stood," Gonzales said March 13.

But in documents released by the Justice Department last week, it appears Gonzales was at a Nov. 27 meeting where the firings were discussed and perhaps decided on.

"Either he was more involved in this matter than he has admitted, or he is not paying attention at meetings," writes liberal online magazine Slate.

"He has said some things that just don't add up," says Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

"We have to have an attorney general who is candid, truthful," adds Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. "And if we find out he has not been candid and truthful, that's a very compelling reason for him not to stay on."

Agreed.

Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he'll bide his time until Gonzales testifies before the group April 17. But will Gonzales survive that long? Increasing numbers in Congress are calling for his resignation, or are at least seriously questioning his basic credibility. Perhaps worse, his former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this Thursday - and his attorney says Sampson "looks forward to answering the committee's questions."

Even if Gonzales can survive until April 17, the administration will need to weigh the assets and liabilities of keeping him on.

This is yet to be a real scandal.

But the Bush administration seems intent on making it one.

Comments (13) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/28/07 - 04:38 am
0
0
Bush is making this a

Bush is making this a scandal? I'm not certain I agree with your point of view. How can one lie about a non issue? We have a congress with too much time on its hands.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 03/28/07 - 05:30 am
0
0
U.S. Attorneys do serve at

U.S. Attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the President. He nominates
them and he can fire them. However, they must be confirmed by the U.S.
Senate. An overlooked insertion in the The Patriot Act eliminated the
requirement that the President's nominees be confirmed within 120
days. Congress is busy fixing that loophole. Once a nominee is
confirmed by the Senate, he or she should be above politics. The
Attorney General of the United States is the highest law enforcement
official in this country. He or she must be above politics when making
legal determinations. Cynthia Tucker of the AJC pointed out on PBS' The
News Hour that firing U.S. Attorneys because they don't comply with the
administration's political objectives - particularly when those U.S.
Attorneys are investigating or prosecuting members of the President's
political party - comes perilously close to obstruction of justice.
Much of Alberto Gonzales' career has been in the service of the Bush
family. He seems unable to separate his role as Bush family consiglier
from his independent role as the highest law enforment official in this
country. That is the crux of the problem and Gonzales' dilemma which
goes well beyond this isolated case involving the firing of 8 U.S.
Attorneys for political reasons. Gonzales
cannot serve two masters. He must put the interest of the country
first. The Attorney General's highest responsibility is to act
independently in
legal matters.

_kpc_
22
Points
_kpc_ 03/28/07 - 06:24 am
0
0
If the Attorney General can't

If the Attorney General can't serve 2 masters, then the law should be changed to reflect that. As it stands now, the president can fire and replace the attorneys at will. Until the loophole is filled, which it should be, the law hasn't been broken. Unethical acts may have been committed, but fortunately for all of the members of congress, it's not illegal to be unethical.

_kpc_
22
Points
_kpc_ 03/28/07 - 06:39 am
0
0
Grouse, President Clinton

Grouse, President Clinton should never have been put under oath to testify about sex, however he was, and he lied. That is perjury. And for that matter, adultery is against the law, firing attorneys is not.

_kpc_
22
Points
_kpc_ 03/28/07 - 07:07 am
0
0
That is not the point. It's

That is not the point. It's only a CRIME when you are under oath. Right/wrong and Legal/illegal are not always the same thing. You can not be procecuted in this country for being a dispicable person if you do it within the confines of the law. If the rule of law doesn't prevail, then the country will fall into chaos.

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 03/28/07 - 08:27 am
0
0
GREAT point Retired Army.

GREAT point Retired Army.

_kpc_
22
Points
_kpc_ 03/28/07 - 08:46 am
0
0
I can't defend that. All I

I can't defend that. All I can say is see above. Lying doen't fall along party lines.

_kpc_
22
Points
_kpc_ 03/28/07 - 09:40 am
0
0
Arguing about the definition

Arguing about the definition of "is" could be considered misleading also.

mgroothand
5
Points
mgroothand 03/28/07 - 11:18 am
0
0
It is interesting to note

It is interesting to note that had Alberto Gonzales been Black, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Harry Belafonte, et al, would be loudly demonstrating in DC claiming that his civil rights, or some such nonsense, are being violated. No Hispanic leaders or groups are going into such hysterics and are allowing due process to take its course.

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 03/28/07 - 02:05 pm
0
0
Come on mrgroothand you can't

Come on mrgroothand you can't be serious.

_kpc_
22
Points
_kpc_ 03/28/07 - 04:30 pm
0
0
But what law was broken in

But what law was broken in this case?

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/28/07 - 05:06 pm
0
0
I see a lot of people are

I see a lot of people are repeating a lot of party mantras, but what laws were broken and how is Bush creating a scandal by not breaking any laws? This is a no news week filler. Cain, Cynthia Tucker? What a fine source. I guess she's better then Cynthia McKenny, but I don't think so. You haven't used Che Guevara or Ted Kennedy yet, so I guess you haven't hit the bottom of the barrel.

hwduncan
57
Points
hwduncan 03/28/07 - 05:13 pm
0
0
Please make the editorialist

Please make the editorialist aware that Senator Arlen Specter is not chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is the former chairman. When control of the Senate shifted to Democrats with the recent election, Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), assumed the chairmanship. Senator Spector is the ranking Republican member. It seems the Chronicle, as well as President Bush, continues to avoid the inconvenient fact that the election went against them and their policies.

Leve Tab La
0
Points
Leve Tab La 03/28/07 - 07:17 pm
0
0
Patriciathomas, as I've said

Patriciathomas, as I've said in a previous post, it all depends on whose propaganda you want to believe. I'm a little shocked that this far into the administration you are so "bought in". I would by no means condemn your conservatism. If that's what you believe, then I'm fine with that. But really? George Bush? Thas administration has been a disaster. I don't need to count the ways because I know you could, if you took the blinders off. Again...it's not conservatism that is the problem. It's the president. In '08 we need to get it right.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/28/07 - 09:01 pm
0
0
erandy, I'm confused by your

erandy, I'm confused by your post. If Bush is to be replaced in '08 shouldn't we make sure we have someplace for his replacement to live? Is defunding our military, putting military secrets in the N Y Times to inform the enemy, and giving aid and comfort to the enemy the way to replace a president? G W is no Reagan, but he's a damn site better then the last two presidents we had and a damn site better then the options we had in the last two elections. I would have liked to have a more conservative president, in retrospect, that would have stood up against more big government and kept a tighter grip on our southern border, but I sure like the path the economy has taken and I like being defended. Maybe our next president will be better at pr and public speaking so he'll be able to withstand the powerful assault of the left, but I sure hope he has Bushs' heart. In the meantime, there's still a country to defend and run. Having another front to face with the current media and congress will not help Bush, but neither will it deter him. Endangering the country for purely political reasons seems like a poor road for the left to be traveling. I guess we'll see how they do.

Back to Top

Top headlines

'FlexMex' restaurant opening in Augusta

Atlanta-based "FlexMex" restaurant chain Tin Lizzy's Cantina is opening its first location outside metro Atlanta in March in Augusta.
Search Augusta jobs