Yeah, “mistakes” like breaking the law.
WASHINGTON, March 9 — Bipartisan outrage erupted on Friday on Capitol Hill as Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, conceded that the bureau had improperly used the USA Patriot Act to obtain information about people and businesses. “How could this happen?” Mr. Mueller asked rhetorically in a briefing at the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Who is to be held accountable? And the answer to that is I am to be held accountable.”
Who is this guy, Macbeth? “Fellow citizens, it is I for whom these laws may have been broken, for thou shalt toll thine bell, in thee, thoust Patriot Act remain steadfast.”
But look at these staggering numbers: “The inspector general traced the increase in the use of the [national security] letters after Sept. 11, 2001. There were 8,500 in 2000, the year before the Patriot Act broadened surveillance powers. There were 39,000 in 2003, 56,000 in 2004 and 47,000 in 2005, the years covered in Mr. Fine’s review. The report found many instances when national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain records from telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit companies and other businesses without a judge’s approval, were improperly, and sometimes illegally, used.”
Check out our chief law enforcement officer’s take on this. “Undoubtedly, some will argue that the FBI should forfeit its authority to use this tool,” Gonzales said. “Instead, I would urge patience, that we not rush to judgment and allow these substantial corrective measures time to work.”
Natch. Rather than focusing on prosecuting those who allegedly broke the law in this matter, the Attorney-Doofus is more interested in making sure the administration’s grab on power remains intact.
That’s why I echo the ACLU’s Tony Romero about Gonzalez being the one to investigate this matter: “This attorney general cannot be part of the solution. He is part of the problem.”
Meanwhile, on his latest World Tour, someone informed our addled Commander-in-Chief about the matter (after first explaining what a “national security letter is” and who the “FBI” are). Said Bush: “We’ll address the problems in the report as quickly as possible. My question is: What are you going to do to solve the problem and how fast can you get it solved?”
What is it with all the rhetorical comments? I doubt administration spinmeisters have been reading Shakespeare or Donne lately, but something tells me it has more to do with denying culpability than anything else. As if by saying “gosh isn’t this awful? My question is, who would do something like this?” they can pretend they had no idea the “grunts” at the FBI could possibly be so cunning. Y’know, kinda like those “grunts” at Abu Ghraib, the “rogues” at the NSA, and on and on.
Just chalk it up to one more administration illegality; one more instance where criminal behavior in the White House has been exposed. And one more instance where if the Democrats don’t get off their duffs and start a blizzard of subpoenas, this group will skate off into the sunset in 20 months scot free.
cross posted from: AoF