"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stonewalling Now Acceptable?

THREE DECADES AFTER NIXON, DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE AND STONEWALLING APPEAR ACCEPTABLE TO MANY

More than three decades ago, people speculated about whether Richard M. Nixon could have saved his corrupt and criminal regime had he burned the famous tapes on the White House lawn. Now a far more corrupt and lawless political banditti has disposed of a great deal of probably incriminating evidence—though not ceremonially burning it---
and there has been very little outcry.

Congress has unsuccessfully sought White House e-mails to find out if Karl Rove was involved in exposing covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. These e-mails could also provide information on whether 9 United States Attorneys were fired for political reasons. They would also have shed light on sworn testimony that Rove was behind the selective prosecution of Governor Donald Siegelman.

The few e-mails that have surfaced showed that Rove was at the center of the plan to fire U.S. Attorneys. It might be recalled that many e-mails concerning outing of Valery Plame disappeared, perhaps because the order to save them was issued twelve hours after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the White House that he was beginning an investigation and needed all records.

The National Journal reported that Rove used a Republican National Committee account to conduct 90% of his electronic correspondence. One could not be blamed for seeing this as a flimsy effort to evade the requirements of the Presidential Records Act. The RNC reported that thousands of Rove’s e-mails were lost.

White House press Secretary Dana Perino has announced that over 5 million e-mails have been “lost.” The National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics have gone to court to have the e-mails restored. E-mails are different from the old Nixon tapes. Lost and deleted e-mails can often be restored. The National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics have brought suite to force the Executive Branch to save and back up e-mails and to restore those that were improperly destroyed. Federal Judge Henry Kennedy issued a temporary restraining order requiring the Executive Office of the President to preserve e-mail under the matter is settled.

The White House has plowed new ground in claiming that employees do not even have to appear before Congressional Committees to claim that executive privilege prevents them from providing information. In the cases of Rove and Josh Bolten, the White House developed a doctrine of blanket executive privilege. Blanket executive privilege holds that these people could say nothing about anything, nor could they explain why it was necessary to assert executive privilege. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy noted, “And they contend that their blanket claim of executive privilege cannot be tested but must be accepted by the Congress as the last word." Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said this claim meant the White House insisted upon “grading its own paper.”

With two Republicans joining 10 Democrats, the Committee voted to recommend contempt citations for Rove and Bolten. Earlier the House judiciary panel took this action against Bolten and Harriet Meyers. However, a certain Senate Republican filibuster will prevent action on the contempt charges, and this will add weight to the new doctrine of blanket executive privilege.

Now the Bush Justice Department and White House are busy trying to block Congressional investigations and head off a possible special counsel looking into why the CIA in 2003 destroyed videotapes of hundreds of hours of interrogation of detainees. Jose Rodriguez, then head of the covert division, was advised by lawyers not to destroy the tapes, and Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote to him advising that the tapes must be retained. Her letter was essentially a warning that if the committee passed into Democratic hands, the tapes would be considered important evidence. The man who destroyed the tapes has not been disciplined, and the administration is saying the tapes were destroyed to protect the identities of covert agents.

We know how much the Bush Administration cares about protecting covert agents. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan had vigorously denied that anyone in the White House was involved in the leak. After he left that post, he wrote, “I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the Vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the President himself.” From the beginning of the affair, the administration has issued an endless stream of lies covering its involvement in the outing of Plame. The official story about a seasoned intelligence professional being addicted to gossip and accidentally leaking Plame’s identity fails to pass serious scrutiny.

We also know that from day one, the George W. Bush administration has been busy erecting walls of secrecy and spinning intricate webs of deceit to hide its intentions and actions. Moreover, the Republican Party has consistently defended the lies and secrecy, as though transparency and honesty were somehow poisonous for a democracy. In Nixon’s day, stonewalling and lying were considered criminal acts by many Republicans. Today, destruction of evidence, stonewalling, and lying are defended by that party and overlooked by most of the mainstream press.

1 comment:

Heather said...

....just wanted you to learn that I am a HUGE fan of your blog, I've had it bookmarked for ages...

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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!