NY Times: 'Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik'
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "came across as a dull-witted apparatchik" during his testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee on his role in the firing of eight US Attorneys, according to an editorial in Friday's New York Times.
"If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had gone to the Senate yesterday to convince the world that he ought to be fired, it’s hard to imagine how he could have done a better job, short of simply admitting the obvious: that the firing of eight United States attorneys was a partisan purge," the Times editorial states. "Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch."
The editorial continues, "At the end of the day, we were left wondering why the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer would paint himself as a bumbling fool. Perhaps it’s because the alternative is that he is not telling the truth. There is strong evidence that this purge was directed from the White House, and that Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s top political adviser, and Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, were deeply involved."
The Times notes, "We don’t yet know whether Mr. Gonzales is merely so incompetent that he should be fired immediately, or whether he is covering something up...[B]ut if we believe the testimony that neither he nor any other senior Justice Department official was calling the shots on the purge, then the public needs to know who was."
The paper says that's "why the Judiciary Committee must stick to its insistence that Mr. Rove, Ms. Miers and other White House officials testify in public and under oath and that all documents be turned over to Congress, including e-mail messages by Mr. Rove that the Republican Party has yet to produce."
Excerpts from Times editorial:
Some of his answers were merely laughable. Mr. Gonzales said one prosecutor deserved to be fired because he wrote a letter that annoyed the deputy attorney general. Another prosecutor had the gall to ask Mr. Gonzales to reconsider a decision to seek the death penalty. (Mr. Gonzales, of course, is famous for never reconsidering a death penalty case, no matter how powerful the arguments are.)
Mr. Gonzales criticized other fired prosecutors for “poor management,” for losing the confidence of career prosecutors and for “not having total control of the office.” With those criticisms, Mr. Gonzales was really describing his own record: he has been a poor manager who has had no control over his department and has lost the confidence of his professional staff and all Americans.
FULL TIMES EDITORIAL CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK