Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Clearances for Eavesdropping Probe

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testfied before a Senate Committee today about the NSA warrantless electronic surveillance program. He made a startling admission: It was Bush himself who blocked Justice Department lawyers in the Office of Professional Responsibility from obtaining security clearances to conduct the investigation of the program that members of Congress had requested.

President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the anti-terror eavesdropping program that intercepts Americans' international calls and e-mails, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday.

Bush refused to grant security clearances for department investigators who were looking into the role Justice lawyers played in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency listens in on telephone calls and reads e-mail without court approval, Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Without access to the sensitive program, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility closed its investigation in April.

I wrote about Congressman Hinchey's request at length back in May, linking to several of the letters exchanged between the OPR and Hinchey, it's a pretty good backgrounder if you want some history.

Note that the May 11 letter from Hinchey to the OPR directly asks, "Who made the decision not to give you clearance?"

Murray Waas has an excellent article that just came out about today's disclosure by Gonzales.

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  • Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 04:56:44 PM EST
    This guy is amazing. And he never pays a price for usurping power. He'll go down as the president to whom the the most was granted with the least amount of trouble. The president who was forced to answer for nothing by a largely compliant populace and even more compliant press.

    Looks like W will take the lead in big and important policy decisions, where less powerful mortals are timorous, quashing the DOJ... and outing Plame perhaps?

    For a detailed discussion of the administration's systematic actions to avoid any scrutiny of their violations of the law and the constitution, see also this post by Kagro X at The Next Hurrah today.

    Fox, meet henhouse. And here we all are, frogs ever so slowly boiling. It is a disgrace that this war criminal has yet to be called on the carpet for his crimes.

    Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 05:34:03 PM EST
    Can you imagine if Clinton personally intervened to block an investigation of this nature, war or no? I mean, the cries of "You KNOW he's tapping the phones of all his opponents, look at TravelGate and the FBI file scandal". He really thinks, as the "war president", that he is designated as a de-facto political Superman, beholden to no one, not even the American people.

    Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#6)
    by soccerdad on Tue Jul 18, 2006 at 07:10:46 PM EST
    The road to authoritarian rule is getting a tad slippery

    I've never before seen Gonzales shy away from taking responsibility for forwarding the fascist goals of this administration. Is this CYA move by Gonzales a crack in the armor, is he beginning to think about a personal exit strategy?

    Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#9)
    by Punchy on Wed Jul 19, 2006 at 06:55:43 AM EST
    It now appears that even impeachment is impossible. When the Pres can single-handedly squash all and every investigation, their will never be any accountability. This precedent, if left to stand, solidifies his power as the King. Since no one's able to investigate his behavior, he becomes immune from everything. God, I feel sick.

    wg, yes that puts a rather broad new light on this "evesdropping" program

    Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#11)
    by The Heretik on Wed Jul 19, 2006 at 07:46:26 AM EST
    Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#12)
    by dutchfox on Wed Jul 19, 2006 at 08:42:28 AM EST
    The Times buried this story inside today's edition, albeit on the 'national news' pages. Why not on the front page, above the fold???

    Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#13)
    by roger on Wed Jul 19, 2006 at 04:56:51 PM EST
    All they need to do now is suspend the '08 elections

    Re: Gonzales: Bush Personally Blocked Security Cle (none / 0) (#14)
    by Sailor on Thu Jul 20, 2006 at 04:12:47 PM EST
    bush personally blocked this investigation. bush did his best to block the 9/11 commission. He has blocked part 2 of the investigation. bush refuses to comply with existing laws requiring him to report his actions to congress. bush thinks himself above the law and larger than the constitution. all hail king george. I could swear we fought a war to get rid of king george ... it's time for another.