SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
I’m sitting in a bar in Edinburgh, Scotland, and guess what people are watching? Alberto Gonzales testifying. (Many rude comments in the background. Even watching “Trainspotting” did not prepare me for the local accent however–I can’t really figure what they’re saying. But rude it is for sure.) I am expecting the channels to be switched shortly for some golf matches, but for the moment, Gonzo is the man.
It’s already been an interesting morning, what with the chair saying point-blank “I don’t trust you,” and the ranking member (the Republican who should be supporting Gonzales) demanding that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate himself. But here are some snippets from Gonzo’s opening statement, with annotations, once more Schnitzler-style (Gonzo’s spoken words in Roman, and what Gonzo’s really thinking in italics):
I believe very strongly that there is no place for political considerations in the hiring of our career employees or in the administration of justice. [That’s why I told the Chicago Tribune that I was planning to proceed full speed ahead with the politicization by arranging for regular meetings between federal prosecutors and GOP political figures. When we do it, it’s called “implementing policies.” If the Democrats do it, it’s called politics. See, isn’t that simple?] As such, the allegations of such activity have been troubling to hear. [Bush’s approval in the lower twenties. Very troubling to hear. But not to worry: we don’t have to seek re-election.] From my perspective, there are two options available in light of these allegations. I could walk away or I could devote my time, effort and energy to fix the problems. Since I have never been one to quit, I decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems. That is exactly what I am doing. [Of course the other option would be for me to prosecute myself since I am responsible for the political manipulations. Like hell am I going to do that. Moreover, if and when I quit, my successor probably will appoint a prosecutor, who probably will prosecute me. So I’m here for life, or until Bush leaves Washington, whichever happens later.] . . .
I am very proud of the results that the Department of Justice has achieved. [We succeeded in prosecuting seven Democrats for every Republican, and we got away with it for six years before those idiot Democrats figured out what we were doing. I’d say that’s quite an accomplishment.] As the testimony above demonstrates, the Department’s employees continue to work day in and day out to protect Americans. That said, reinforcing public confidence in the Department is also critical and will be one of my top priorities as Attorney General for the remainder of my term. I know that this Committee shares this concern, and I would like now to address briefly one issue in particular.
I believe very strongly that there is no place for political considerations in the hiring of our career employees or in the administration of justice. [Remember, President Bush is entitled to have good team players to implement his policies. That’s not politics. However, Democrats engage in politics. Therefore, we are serving the nation’s interests when we carefully identify Democrats and exclude them. As well as disloyal Republicans, like people who previously voted for John McCain. They’re even more devious traitors because they pass for Republicans.] As such, the allegations of such activity have been troubling to hear. From my perspective, there are two options available in light of these allegations. I could walk away or I could devote my time, effort and energy to fix the problems. Since I have never been one to quit, I decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems. That is exactly what I am doing. [The seventeen months we have remaining is enough to completely purge disloyal staffers from the department. We expect to keep to schedule.]
As you know, upon learning of these troubling accusations, we promptly referred these matters to the Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General. [That, of course, is a complete lie. We did nothing. In fact, I wrote an op-ed for USA Today in which I decried all of this as a petty employment matter. Things went to OPR only when this was sustained in the headlines for over a month and it was clear it wouldn’t blow over when I doled out a bunch of lies and then sent the other two most senior people at DOJ to tell more lies. But not to worry, OPR is right here in my vest pocket.] This was the right course of action for the Department and I have complete faith and confidence that their investigations will be thorough, comprehensive, and, ultimately, very helpful in rooting out and addressing any mistakes that occurred on my watch.
But I am not going to wait for the results of these investigations to begin taking steps to ensure that any previous mistakes are not repeated. I have appointed experienced personnel [political loyalty certified], revised certain policies and procedures [particularly in order to bolster our efforts to stonewall all investigations and to assure the White House that Executive Privilege trumps the Constitution and all inferior laws], and have communicated to the Department leadership that I will not tolerate any improper politicization of this Department [again, that means Democratic politics; implementation of the White House’s policy agenda is not politics, it is what we are sworn to do. After all, we serve to pleasure the president, and his chief political advisor]. I will continue to make efforts to ensure that my staff and others within the Department have the appropriate experience and judgment so that previous mistakes will not be repeated [we will do everything in our power to block you from questioning witnesses and reviewing internal DOJ documents which disclose our misdeeds]. And I will continue to ensure that the Department attracts and hires highly qualified individuals from the broadest base possible without reference to their political affiliations [in addition to Regent University and Liberty University, we will now also recruit from Bob Jones, St Thomas Moore and Ave Maria University.]
The Department’s work is critical. In order to continue to serve the American public well, we need to reinforce public confidence and to attract and retain the best possible employees. We are working to ensure that this happens. [By staying on another seventeen months or so, we hope to drive from the DOJ most senior qualified professionals, so we can complete the process of appointing our political hacks to every nook and cranny in the department.]
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Amount that President Obama has added to America’s “brand value” according to the Nation Brands Index:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
A Utah woman named Cameo Crispi pleaded guilty to having drunkenly attempted to burn down her ex-boyfriend’s house by igniting bacon on his kitchen stove.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”