Friday, March 09, 2007

He May Not Be Houdini, But...

He may not be Houdini, but how many smoking guns will it take to impeach this president? While it's downright decent of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller to take responsibility for the fact that the FBI "broke the law," and "underreported" to Congress the number of National Security Letters it used by, oh, a mere 20% (AP), there is one daunting, and unavoidable question here: who appointed the prominent San Francisco attorney to the helm of an increasingly unbiquitous governmental agency in the first place? Why, yes, it was the president who, back in 2001, decided upon Mueller to replace then beleaguered Louis Freeh.

But, will the problem be solved by having Mueller step down as Rumsfeld did? Who is at the helm? Is it Mueller? Isn't he just following orders? Wasn't Rumsfeld just following orders, too, or maybe refusing to get with the program? And, now that April 15th is just a month away, what do you think would happen to you and me if we were to underreport our earnings to the IRS by, say, 20% this year the way the number of National Security Letters issued was underreported?

Even Houdini had to worry about showing panty lines every now and then, but this president never has to worry about anything. He would make Midas blush. How Mr. Bush manages to escape facing a grand jury in light of the scandals that were Plame-gate, Katrina, weapons of mass delusion, warrantless surveillance in defiance of FISA, and now this, the admission by the two head honchos of law enforcement, in the U.S., that the Federal Bureau of Investigation committed illegal acts. Maybe we need to introduce a modern day Mata Hari into the inner circle, maybe as a White House intern, before people will take anything this president does seriously enough to make him testify, in an impeachment trial, the way another former president did.

Even a desultory look back, over the past six years, will demonstrate that the USA Patriot Act, and National Security, or demand for information, Letters, are the warped progeny of the 43rd President of the United States. Moreover, as we have seen earlier this week by the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys whose views conflict with those of the White House, a single sentence in the controversial legislation falsely confused with patriots entitles the chief executive to "replace a U.S. attorney without Senate confirmation." (AP) This habit of bypassing Congress, and inflating executive branch authority, has already resulted in prolonging, and exacerbating, a grossly misrepresented, unjust, and unwarranted war.

That said, it must be noted that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appears to be quite upset by revelations that the FBI falsified its reporting, and exceeded its authority by demanding personal records without first getting approval, and in non-emergent situations. Gonzales suggests the possibility of maybe even pursuing indictments against those Bureau agents, or counsel, whose use of the Patriot Act was spurious, and unauthorized.

Mueller, on the other hand, seems to think that issues of underreporting, falsifying data, and unwarranted action can be readily remedied by "training employees on the limits of their authority." (AP) But, ironically enough, the person who most needs to be "trained" on the limits of his authority gets to flex his unitary muscles with impunity in the Oval Office, and at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Just the mere thought that the Justice Department felt compelled to spend taxpayer's money on an audit of the FBI's activities is, in and of itself, a statement of just how far over the line this administration has gone with respect to its own hubris-begetting criminal misconduct; it's positively biblical. That legislation was introduced, and passed, during a time of mass hysteria from which members of Congress were not exempt has opened the door for the egregious, and illegal abuse of power which now rears its ugly head in every branch of government. Indeed, corruption thy name is terror. What's more, release of the Justice Department's astonishing findings today only leads us to say this: so much for Patriot Acts---it's time to give these "patriots" the axe.