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ABU GONZALES: Senators Probe Top Cop, Invasive Procedural Deflected By Impenetrable Congeniality

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BY GLENN GREENWALD This is what I have learned so far: All of the Senators are very “concerned” and sometimes even “disturbed” about many things, almost all of them different for each Senator. Gonzales definitely shares their concerns about everything, and assures them he takes it very seriously and he is happy to sit down with them and explore ways to fix/improve/think about it.

For any information the Senators want, Gonzales does not have it, but he will definitely endeavor to get it for them. When pointed out that he has made the same promises many times before and told them nothing, he assures them them he is working diligently to get it, but that it is a very complex matter, and they are entitled to it and will have it (sometimes he politely denies ever having promised it before but then says he will get it anyway).

Feingold began by pointing out that the administration, including Gonzales, has many times accused opponents of the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” — meaning those who insisted that eavesdropping take place within the law, within the FISA framework — of “opposing eavesdropping on terrorists” (I can find 20 examples in 5 minutes of that).

Feingold’s first question – “do you know of any one in the country who opposed eavesdropping on terrorists?”

Gonzales: Sure – if you look at blogs today, there is a lot of concern about all types of eavesdropping, who don’t want us eavesdropping at all.

Feingold: Do you know anyone in government who ever took that position?

Gonzales: No, but that is not what I said.

Feingold: It is a disgrace and disservice to your office and the President to have accused people on this Committee of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I didn’t have you in mind or anyone on the Committee when I referred to people who oppose eavesdropping on terrorists. Perish the thought.

Feingold: Oh, well it’s nice that you didn’t have us “in your mind” when making those accusations, but given that you and the President were running around the country accusing people of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists in the middle of an election, the fact that you didn’t have Congressional Democrats in “mind” isn’t significant. Your intent was to make people think that anyone who opposed the “TSP” did not want to eavesdrop on terrorists, even though that was false. No Democrats oppose eavesdropping on terrorists.

Gonzales: I wasn’t referring to Democrats.

So, apparently, all those speeches Bush officials and their supporters have spent the last year giving accusing people of opposing eavesdropping on terrorists, and all the television commericals making the same accusations throughout the months leading up to the election, were not about Democrats at all, but were about random bloggers who are against all eavesdropping. Where? Maybe on Smirking Chimp and Democratic Underground. That is who they meant when they were talking about opposing eavesdropping on Osama bin Laden. They didn’t mean Democrats in Congress. The entire campaign and all of those accusations were directed only to the bloggers who don’t want them eavesdropping at all.

UNCLAIMED TERRITORY: I Don’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry

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