Friday, January 19, 2007

Brazen Brazenity

Duke Cunningham went down last year; Bob Ney's tumble came this morning. Ah, you might think, the corrupt pigeons of the 109th Congress are finally coming home to roost... but, alas, AG Gonzales is booting out seven prosecutors who are sniffing too close on Republican tails. And replacing them with people like Timothy Griffin, whose last paying gig was helping Karl Rove dig up dirt on political opponents. Oh, wait--not simply replacing them on an interim basis, but forever, or at least until the 2008 elections, because Arlen Specter quietly slipped a provision into the renewed PATRIOT Act removing the requirement that interim prosecutors go through Senate confirmation within 120 days. The new guys now serve at the pleasure of the president. Or to pleasure the president, as the case may be. Paul Krugman summarizes more elegantly than I could hope to...
Mr. Gonzales says that there’s nothing political about the firings. And according to The Associated Press, he said that district court judges shouldn’t appoint U.S. attorneys because they “tend to appoint friends and others not properly qualified to be prosecutors.” Words fail me. go read his column right now.

Given this brazen vaffanculo to rule of law, I'm stunned that the White House reversed course yesterday and decided that the FISA court might work just fine after all, that 72-hours-ex-post-facto warrants do not, in fact, take away the tools the preznit needs to protect us from the terrorists or embolden the enemy.

Maybe the FISA move was a gambit designed to establish the administration's law-abiding character in the investigations headed by the now-replaced prosecutors, just in case somebody in the Senate notices they are... what are the words... oh, yeah, "not properly qualified."

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