George W. Bush's domestic spying: cover-up?

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"President Bush is the decider," The Morning Call stated July 20, 2006.[1]

"That," it said, "in a nutshell, was the response that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales gave" on July 18, 2006, before the Senate Judiciary Committee when Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) "asked who decided to block a Justice Department investigation of the secret NSA eavesdropping program. It was a moment of clarity both because of Mr. Gonzales's frankness and because of what it revealed about the presidency of George W. Bush."

Gonzales testified "that President Bush personally halted an internal Justice Department investigation into whether Gonzales and other senior department officials acted within the law in approving and overseeing the administration's domestic surveillance program," Murray Waas reported in the National Journal.[2]

Bush "personally sidetracked an internal Justice Department probe into the warrantless domestic surveillance program earlier this year, even as other Justice officials were assigned to defend the program in court and investigate who may have leaked information about it to the news media, according to administration officials and documents released" July 18, 2006, Richard B. Schmitt wrote in the Los Angeles Times.[3]

The "government has in effect curtailed an investigation of itself" and "hardly anyone has noticed. It has not caused much interest in Congress, or on the nation's editorial pages, or the even in the blogosphere, which takes pride in causing a stir about things that should but nobody else has yet taken notice," Waas wrote in the New York Sun.[4]

"Bush's move -- denying the requisite security clearances to attorneys from the department's ethics office -- is unprecedented in that office's history," Dan Froomkin wrote in the Washington Post.[5]

"Bush's action," Froomkin wrote, "is also another example of what I have previously noted is a consistent White House modus operandi: That time and time again, Bush and his aides have selectively leaked or declassified secret intelligence findings that served their political agenda -- while aggressively asserting the need to keep secret the information that would tend to discredit them."

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  1. "Attorney General's revelation raises troubling constitutional questions," The Morning Call, July 20, 2006. Note: article is no longer available and could not be located via the
  2. Murray Waas, "Bush Blocked Justice Department Investigation," National Journal, July 18, 2006.
  3. Richard B. Schmitt, "Bush Blocked Internal Justice Probe of Wiretaps. The president withheld security clearances from lawyers investigating those who approved and oversaw the NSA surveillance program," Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2006.
  4. Murray Waas, "Writing Letters," New York Sun, July 19, 2006.
  5. Dan Froomkin, "Cover-Up Exposed?" Washington Post, July 19, 2006.

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