Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gonzo is still under the gun

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine announced today that his office is investigating outgoing disgraced attorney general Alberto Gonzales to determine if he should face charges of perjury for lying in his testimony before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

In a letter today to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Fine said his office "has ongoing investigations" related to Gonzales's testimony on several key issues, including the prosecutor firings and allegations of improper hiring; the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program; the FBI's use of national security letters; and allegations that Gonzales sought to improperly influence a witness who was under investigation by Congress and the Justice Department.

Gonzales's often contradictory remarks and his repeated assertions that he could not recall key events drew fire from lawmakers of both parties and contributed to his dwindling support on Capitol Hill.

Prior to todays acknowledgment, Fine would only confirm that he was looking into allegations that the Attorney General sought to influence the testimony of Monica Goodling before she appeared before Congress.

Earlier this month Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy had requested Fine expand the scope of his investigation to include Gonzales contradictory testimony. Today, Fine indicated that he was already on it, and so was the Office of Professional Responsibility. The two offices are jointly conducting an investigation into the illegal politicization of Justice.

Leahy issues a statement that he was "pleased" that Gonzales was being investigated, but indicated that the Congress would continue investigating Gonzales as well. "The current Attorney General is leaving, but these questions remain," Leahy said. "It is appropriate that the Inspector General will examine whether the Attorney General was honest with this and other Congressional committees about these crucial issues."

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