Of course, Alberto Gonzales deserves a special prosecutor and his own day in court. The alternative is that he may be prosecuted for crimes, when he no longer has the benefit of the resources of the office of attorney general. If it comes to that, he would likely receive the monetary support of well-healed neo-cons, but that could prevent him from returning gracefully to private practice. Besides, if there is sufficient justification to suspect criminal wrong-doing and the allegations are plentiful, he should not be forced to twist in the wind.
Why were the Texan border patrol agents who shot at an escaping drug smuggler convicted and sent to prison, instead of commended for doing their dangerous jobs as trained? The suspicions are that Mr. Gonzales was involved in strong arming the local prosecutor, whom he had known while working for “W”, when he was governor. It seems the election of another PAN candidate as president of Mexico hinged on the case and the border agents were considered disposable. This seems to give new meaning to what constitutes “national security.” However, if the allegations are unfounded, Mr. Gonzales deserves to have his name cleared.
As the most senior law enforcement officer, Mr. Gonzales took an oath to defend the US constitution against all enemies. Yet, when informed of W’s public protestations that the Constitution was just a “g-ddamned piece of paper”, Mr. Gonzales conveniently overlooked the extreme disrespect shown, refused to respond or apparently investigate. Here again, if the reports are false, Mr. Gonzales deserves the opportunity to clear his name through the mechanism of a special independent prosecutor.
Another dubious escapade involved the stonewalling of Congressional insistence on use of the special purpose courts to authorize wire taping of private citizen’s phone lines. Mr. Gonzales long claimed that the courts were not appropriately formulated to ensure confidentiality and efficiency, yet within days of the new Democratic majority in Congress, suddenly all objections were miraculously satisfied and Mr. Gonzales gave assurances that the legal procedures would be followed. If the timing of this policy shift was incidental, then Mr. Gonzales deserves to be cleared, something he cannot do on his own.
Similarly, de-facto suspension of civil liberties of the Bill of Rights, part of the US Constitution, seems to have been a hallmark of Mr. Gonzales’ tenure. This includes the suspension of Habeas Corpus by holding suspects incommunicado for long periods, and the transportation of suspects to foreign jurisdictions without due process where they may have been tortured. The procedures followed with detainees in Guantanamo Bay is another area that needs review, despite Supreme Court attention to some related issues. Ultimately, is the USA a nation of laws or a nation where the president and the attorney general can decide which laws may be broken for political expediency?
Another broad area that needs careful review is the repeated awarding by the executive branch of no-bid contracts to the likes of Halliburton, both in Iraq and the US. Reports are that tens of millions of dollars are unaccounted for. There seems to be plenty of evidence of waste, fraud and abuse related to the Iraq War and the “War on Terrorism”, as documented by Congressional investigators, yet heretofore there has been no action by the attorney general’s office. Some say that may constitute dereliction of duty. Again, only an independent investigation could clear his name.
It is beyond doubt that Mr. Alberto Gonzales has been fiercely loyal to “W”, but should that really his top priority? Has loyalty to his boss clouded his judgment? Should the US Constitution and the interests of the American people take precedence, even over those of the president? That is what most believe is the law of the land. Or perhaps has there been a quiet take over of the federal government, such that the Constitution is no longer in effect? Only an independent review could determine the truth. Mr. Gonzales deserves the benefit of the doubt and the chance to clear his name. Otherwise, he may be judged unkindly by the people and by history.