Thursday, July 26, 2007

The ghost of John Mitchell

If Alberto Gonzalez does up the river for perjury--still a long shot, but the odds get shorter every day--at least he won't set a precedent. John Mitchell, one of his predecessors, went to jail for his antics in the Watergate scandal.

Today, as you've no doubt heard, Gonzalez was "contradicted," The New York Times' word, by Robert Mueller, director of the FBI. Now, when you're a government official suspected of lying to Congress under oath, the person you don't want calling your truthfulness into question is the head of the FBI.

The lies that are getting the most attention now--Gonzalez has told so many that they'd fill a fair-sized book--involve what program then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was asked to approve as he lay sedated on his bed of pain following gall bladder surgery. The story is a bit complicated, but essentially it revolves around the question of how many domestic surveillance programs the administration was running, what their parameters were and what Bush's satraps had to do to get even such a shill as Ashcroft to approve them. TPMuckraker has a lengthy post analyzing all this. Take a look.

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