Henry Gets Impatient

Apparently, I’m not the only one who noticed that, since the time when Henry Waxman first asked Michael Mukasey to hand over the White House-related materials from the CIA Leak Case investigation, he has proven to mighty responsive to requests from Congress when it involves covering up for the White House. Compare these two response times to requests from Congress:

Torture Tapes: 6 Days Response

December 8: Congress begins to call for its own investigation of the destruction of the torture tapes

December 14: Mukasey sends a letter telling Congress to butt out

CIA Leak Investigation: 15 days and counting

December 3: Waxman requests White House investigation materials from Mukasey

December 18: Waxman asks again

Given the disparity in time–and the apparent logic that the disparity seems to stifle oversight in both cases–I can see why Waxman is getting impatient. He sets up his very own confrontation with Mukasey, too, giving him a deadline of January 3:

Thus, I request that you provide the Committee by January 3,2008, with the documents requested in the Committee’s July 16 letter
to Mr. Fitzgerald, including the reports of interviews with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and other White House officials.

And if a deadline isn’t enough, Waxman throws Mukasey’s logic back at him.

You resisted providing information to the committees because of your concern that providing information could undermine the Justice Department’s on-going investigation. In the Plame matter, there is no pending Justice Department investigation and no pending Justice Department litigation. Whatever the merits of the position you are taking in the CIA tapes inquiry, those considerations do not apply here.

I’m not holding my breath. But seeing Dick and Bush’s interview transcripts sure would be an interesting way to start the New Year.

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33 replies
  1. Neil says:

    I can’t imagine Bush and Cheney’s lawyers are inclined to make it easy for Mukasey to comply with Waxmen’s request for the files, regardless of whether its the Office of the President’s counsel (Fielding?) or his personal attorney.

  2. Mary says:

    On the torture tapes, keep in mind that in the FOIA case, the reason DOJ said they couldn’t turn things over initially when they were ordered to is that what they had was being used in an “internal investigation.”

    So – how many internal investigations do they get to do before someone coughs up something?

    • Peterr says:

      On the torture tapes, keep in mind that in the FOIA case, the reason DOJ said they couldn’t turn things over initially when they were ordered to is that what they had was being used in an “internal investigation.”

      So – how many internal investigations do they get to do before someone coughs up something?

      I believe they are investigating the number of investigations needed, and will get back to you shortly. Or not.

  3. BlueStateRedHead says:

    OT, but yet another step-up-to-the-plate by a Senator. Coburn will block the bill that rights Rep. Young of Alaska’s illegal interjection of an earmark after the bill was made law until Young’s action is investigated.
    Josh at TPM is reporting on it now.
    Kudos Josh and his intrepid and persistent Alaska investigator.
    While we are thanking Sen. Dodd in droves, can we send a little encouragement to another defender of the constitution? Especially as he is from the other side of the aisle.

    http://coburn.senate.gov/publi…..oburn.Home

    • bobschacht says:

      “. . . can we send a little encouragement to another defender of the constitution?”

      Can we (the new FDL conglomerate) set up a Defender of the Constitution award? Not just a one-shot opinion poll, but one with
      * Nominations (e.g., Dodd; Kucinich)
      * Basis for nomination (e.g., Dodd’s filibuster of FISA; Kucinich’s Resolution of Impeachment)– kinda like articles of impeachment in reverse?
      * Voting held after the Articles for Nomination have all been fleshed out

      Republicans and independents would be eligible– if they’ve earned it.
      Also prosecutors– e.g. Patrick Fitzgerald

      Should organizations be eligible? e.g., ACLU, CREW

      It would be especially cool if this could be a coalition project of FDL, DailyKos, MoveOn.org, etc.

      Bob in HI

      • BlueStateRedHead says:

        Can we (the new FDL conglomerate) set up a Defender of the Constitution award? Not just a one-shot opinion poll, but one with
        * Nominations (e.g., Dodd; Kucinich)
        * Basis for nomination (e.g., Dodd’s filibuster of FISA; Kucinich’s Resolution of Impeachment)– kinda like articles of impeachment in reverse?
        * Voting held after the Articles for Nomination have all been fleshed out

        Republicans and independents would be eligible– if they’ve earned it.
        Also prosecutors– e.g. Patrick Fitzgerald

        Should organizations be eligible? e.g., ACLU, CREW

        It would be especially cool if this could be a coalition project of FDL, DailyKos, MoveOn.org, etc.

        Bob in HI

        I am game for a citizen action, Bob. If you write to EW, she will send your email on to me. Any other takers, do the same.

        In the mean time, try thanking Sen. Coburn who has done what no one in the HR and their so-called ethics committee did not or would not do.

        Edward Teller, our Gentleman from Alaska, are you there?

    • looseheadprop says:

      Why isn’t Waxman asking Fitz for these items?

      He did, and the WH told Pat he could not turn them over. Pat dutifully reported that back to Waxman.

      In this way, Pat is not being insubordinate, but he did manage to rat out Shrub and Deadeye to Henry

      • Jeff says:

        Pat dutifully reported that back to Waxman.

        Doesn’t say that in the letters that I can see. All we’ve got in the December 3 letter is Waxman stating than an unidentified Justice Department official told him that Fitzgerald had designated the docs re White House officials for turning over to Waxman. And nothing on who told him the White House had not consented to their release.

    • Jeff says:

      He has asked Fitzgerald, but it is being done in consultation with DoJ, and while Fitzgerald has agreed to turn over the documents – and has already turned over documents having to do with CIA and State Department and other individuals – the White House is blocking DoJ and Fitzgerald from releasing the documents to do with White House official. That’s what Waxman is appealing to Mukasey about – to follow apparent historical precedent and turn over those White House documents.

      As Dan Froomkin has pointed out, Waxman’s is a pretty brilliant strategy because even if this Attorney General refuses, the next one may agree to the then-outstanding request.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Doesn’t Fitzy own the docs? If Mukasey says HELL NO, you mean the
        next step is to wait another year?
        They can’t claim executive privilege can they… so what is the
        legal basis (a memo from Gonzo dated in 2005?)for them to prevent
        the turnover to Waxman?

        • emptywheel says:

          I think that’s one of the intents behind today’s letter–to back Mukasey into a corner, where the only remaining excuse will be, “because I’m covering up for Bush.”

          • AZ Matt says:

            Muckasey has backed himself into that corner pretty well already. Henry is just cementing him into place.

  4. bmaz says:

    ” But seeing Dick and Bush’s interview transcripts sure would be an interesting way to start the New Year.”

    That would be assuming Jose Rodriquez has not singlemindedly taken it upon himself to destroy these two items of evidence as well?

  5. bigbrother says:

    The policy is called unitary executive priveledge as you know. Congressional oversight is a non starter as the lawyed up WH is ruling by prescidents they are setting. Now that they have sucessfully ignored Congress (with the support of their own congress critters for 7 years). Once the terror lights are lite all bets are off for any rights. This is limited as demonstrated by Senator Arlen Specter’s letter to Darth Vadar to what their base will tolerate.
    Anything that would upset the gravy train of goverment privatization and war booty for the corporate culture ( profit at any cost) wil simply be stonewalled. Make no mistake this administration is about enriching their cronys The way to get to them to comply with the law is through their base for one. The National Guild of Lawywers ( who has nade a resolution to Impeach Cheney/Bush), the ACLU, American Bar Association, The National BAr Association, National Lawyrs Association,American Intellectual Property Law Associationand, The Federal Bar Association all have a vested interest in the Rule od Law can some of you lawyers send them a challenge letter demanding a response or are they complicit? One interesting argument heard in the din of disention is that the neocons need a way to prevent the political opposition from having all that telecom data to peruse through and pick up more scandal dirt.
    With all the wonderful legal minds here could we get some input on this.

  6. ralphbon says:

    Do we know for sure that the Bush and Cheney interviews were transcribed? IIRC, in other investigations, like the 911 commission, the cost of getting them into a room was to forgo taping or stenography, the better to create deniability and waffleability. I realize this investigation was a different animal, but still….

  7. AZ Matt says:

    OT FYI

    Reid considers extending Protect America Act for one month to buy more time

    By Manu Raju | Posted: 12/18/07 5:20 PM [ET]
    December 18, 2007

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he would seek to extend a controversial interim wiretapping bill through February to avoid the early presidential primary season.

    Reid said Senate Democrats might have a better chance of resolving internal disputes and moving a rewrite of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) once the early primaries have concluded.

    From The Hill

    • Hmmm says:

      Reid considers extending Protect America Act for one month to buy more time

      And what manner of fuckery might this be?

  8. LS says:

    Mukasey is now facing the first moment of truth…do what you said you were gonna do; resign if the Admin. strongarms you…or face Waxman’s music…or refuse to cooperate with Congress; or hand over the loot.

    Ouch.

  9. obsessed says:

    >I think we’re in the practice of leaving the ZEDs and FITZ!es to the >firedoglake side.

    Yes! Please! The EW site has traditionally had the highest ratio of content to filler in its comments sections (in spite of my posts).

    I’d sure like to read Dick’s “reportedly contentious” Fitz interview in its entirety.

  10. wavpeac says:

    I am tellin’ ya, I can’t figure out why Mukasey or any other schmuck would want the job. I mean seriously, anybody walking in to the position with so many outstanding investigations would be knowingly walking into a hornets nest. Do you have to take the appt? I just don’t get it. You would have to be an absolute moron, or power hungry egotistical fool to believe that you could stave off the coming downfall of the bush administration. Who would want to look like an obstructionist from a historical perspective. I mean most of the nation “sees” what we see. So these smart people like Mukasey can’t see it? What the hell does he get out of putting his reputation and name on the line? History? I am a criminal hear me roar?

    I don’t get it.

    I guess that’s why I come here. But it’s just astounds me.

    • MrWhy says:

      I’d like to elaborate on wavpeac’s comment a little bit.

      Who in their right mind would willingly accept a nomination to serve in this administration at this time?
      Who in their right mind would want to head the DoJ at this time?
      Would any and all AG nominees see their role to include acting as a firewall for the administration?
      Would Mukasey ever get another opportunity to serve his country in a comparable role?
      What inducements could this administration offer to anyone credible to convince them to accept the nomination?

      Hmmm. wavpeac is right, I just don’t see it.
      Serve your country? Or serve in the Bush cabinet?
      They don’t seem compatible somehow, do they?

  11. Skilly says:

    OK,

    Here is way OT, but, for the life of me, I can’t quite get the Fitz adoration thing here. I have been a regular reader for about 1.6 years. The obsession predates my readings.

    Is it an unadulterated crush? Is emptywheel, Fitz’s sister or something? (kidding) Is this a girl thing? what?

  12. Mary says:

    Mukasey and Czar Czar Goper. Kind of a remake of the old series under a new name, eh? Blacksite Achers?

    Blacksite, Achers is the place to be
    There, you’ll get your very own detainee
    Presidential orders to remove their hide
    Take their children and disappear their bride

    You’re my detainee
    Let’s break that other knee,
    Blacksite Achers here we come.

    *sigh*

    Waxman really needs to cast his net further afield than videotapes

    http://news.independent.co.uk/…..239372.ece

    Binyam Mohammed, described in that case, was the other “source” for the Padilla arrest warrant and is the Name That Can Not Be Mentioned by Comey press conf on Padilla.

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06…..index.html

    By accounts, the “corroboration” that Binyam provided can in conjuction with having his genitalia repeatedly razored. Per Ghost Plane, when the CIA did their typical “strip the Arab man and then have a woman photograph every crevice on him” even the woman they produced to take the pictures was shocked.

    OTOH, I guess after being so very proud of the coerced Higazy confession prior to coming to DC, Comey couldn’t help but be impressed at how heavily Padilla, being tortured, Binyam – also being tortured, and Zubaydah – uh, also being tortured, seemed to so magically corroborate each other.

    COMEY: No, it’s heavily corroborated. And that’s what I meant by the scope and candor and clarity of this document. This bears reading, because what we’ve done is put in there all the interlocking corroboration, as well as where things don’t agree.

    I’ve never quite seen candor used in the way Comey uses it in the Padilla press conference. I need to go watch the Princess Bride again for the appropriate reference.

    • bmaz says:

      Most excellent Mary! Soon as they get the writers all paid up and back to work, I think you ought to option Blacksite Achers out to Comedy Central as a satire/spoof. Hey, they bought L’il Bush………

  13. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Skilly, I’m not authorized to speak on behalf of anyone, but FWIW…

    Is it a ‘Fitz crush’, and is it a ‘girl thing’?
    Mostly not.

    Think back 16 months ago — NO ONE seemed to be standing up for the rule of law. (Well, no one except Valerie Plame, Sy Hersh, Russ Feingold, MoveOn, and a few retired Generals who’d begun to speak out.)
    And then along came a pleasant-looking prosecutor who seemed to do his job, stay out of the limelight, and share credit with his team.
    O.M.G! How refreshing!

    Some of us were blinking and rubbing our eyes in disbelief.
    So the shorthand expression for this sense of shock and hope became: ‘Fitz!’

    I forget who first put it up at FDL, but it was good for a chuckle.
    So it became an FDL meme.

    ‘Fitz!’ started as a tribute to one man. But the meaning evolved and became more complex as events unfolded to expose mind-boggling corruption.

    Jane and Christy’s posts were tutorials about the justice system, as well as the extend of the corruption in national politics, campaigns, and government. As readers were able to ask questions and learn — from Christy, Jane, and each other, readers became more sophisticated. The scope of their questions began to refernce DoJ attys assigned to the Plame investigation, as well as FBI investigators on the case.

    As people became more knowledgeable, the expression “Fitz!” evolved into a shorthand expression of support for government employees who honored the Rule of Law, whether they worked for DoJ, or the FBI, agencies, or the military.

    No doubt there’s still some ‘girlie’ admiration.
    But at least from my observations over time, the core meaning of the ‘Fitz‘ meme is, ‘We won’t sit on our hands in silence while the law is subverted by criminals!’ But it’s evolved into a salute to anonymous, unsung federal employees.

    At least, that’s my synopsis.

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