"…for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror."
Well, not the one, just one of the ones. This is former White House counsel and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ first substantial post-resignation interview, given to the Wall Street Journal, and aside from his tantrums of self-pity, he maintains that he "didn’t play a central role" in the administration’s program of torture, indefinite detention and warrantless surveillance. It’s hardly necessary to point out how this position is contrary to all the available evidence, and we’ve seen Gonzales lie and prevaricate throughout his time in the administration, most notably in his fateful July 2007 Senate Judiciary Committee testimony. Instead, here’s the judgment of history, delivered by Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School, speaking in January 2005 against Gonzales’ nomination to be attorney general:
Having worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and for more than two years as an attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel itself, I am familiar with how legal opinions like this are sought and drafted. I further sympathize with the tremendous pressures of time and crisis that government lawyers face while drafting such opinions.
Nevertheless, in my professional opinion, the August 1, 2002 OLC Memorandum [on torture, requested by Gonzales and, according to Bart Gellman, inclusive of his input] is perhaps the most clearly erroneous legal opinion I have ever read.
Perhaps this is Gonzales’ attempt at pushing the blame onto David Addington, John Yoo and Jay Bybee. If so, Attackerlady observes that at least Addington has convictions. Stand him up at the gates of hell, where he belongs, and he won’t back down. Nothing about Addington is worthy of respect, except arguably for that. Gonzales doesn’t even have backbone in his favor. Instead, this — about the infamous Ashcroft hospital visit — is how Gonzales operates:
…he gave the impression that he and Mr. Card were attempting to take advantage of Mr. Ashcroft. "I found Ashcroft as lucid as I’ve seen him at meetings in the White House," he said.
Jack Goldsmith has said he really feared that Ashcroft was going to die after mustering the strength to refuse Gonzales’ attempt at strongarming him into overruling Jim Comey and reauthorizing a surveillance program that the acting attorney general deemed illegal. What an appalling thing for Gonzales to say about Ashcroft.
So Happy New Year. May the next time we hear from Alberto Gonzales be at his trial.