Well, in particular, this Mukasey claim is remarkable (fast-forward to 1:21):
Mukasey blubbers about how a missed phone call from a 9/11 Hijacker, if intercepted, could have stopped 9/11. Hamilton refutes this by essentially saying this is important, yet was not shared with the 9/11 Commission, implying one of three things:
- Mukasey was making it up for dramatic appeal.
- He was repeating something heard elsewhere, believing it to be true.
- Somehow, something quite important was suppressed from the 9/11 Commision.
I have NO doubt that all three of these are possible, and in part, this subject was discussed in part by serial-fabricator and former Congressman Curt Weldon regarding his story revolving around “Able Danger”, which runs parallel to Mukasey’s claim. The problem as I see it here is that the call existed without context – knowing (I think it was Mohammad Atta) the caller would eventually be a 9/11 attacker was a piece of information, amongst millions that based on what they knew at the time tripped no red-flags. Mukasey has proven to be a loyal footsoldier, or at least unwilling to drastically upset the applecart, so it is possible he made it up for the cameras, but unlikely. I think this is a piece of 9/11 lore, that Mukasey unfortunately puts too much stake in.
As to the greater story of the Justice Department, its part of Bush’s own personal style (Gonzales, his own personal legal counsel becomes USDOJ) as well as part of the greater Conservative legal agenda. Previously, it focused on getting social, economic, and judicial conservatives (think “in the mold of Scalia and Thomas”) on the bench, either in the Supreme or District Court. Their clerks would be pulled from the pool of Conservative academia, and then would become nominees for the bench, US Attorney, or central Justice.
At higher levels, you had Justice, in the guise of the Office of Legal Counsel, writing opinions, entirely in line with Administration wishes, where those same opinions become the precedent for even more extreme tactics and positions. For example, you could see the methodology and ideology surrounding DOJ and Voter Fraud, Torture, the Don Siegelman Case, Presidential War Powers, Spying, weakening of whistleblower protections (to be fair, by the Supreme Court), Civil Rights, the destruction of the CIA tapes, Executive Authority, and many others that escape my mind, all the while refusing to investigate any actions that would be inconvenient for the Bushies, such as White Collar Crime, 5-million missing emails, financial impropriety in Iraq, dragging their feet regarding the New Hampshire phone-jamming case, their refusal to investigate rape claims by Halliburton Contractors on their own employees, and the enforcement of congressional subpoenas and findings of contempt. Meanwhile, GOPers who are under-various investigations (Stevens, Young) are either never-indicted, or quietly decide not to run for reelection (Weldon, Domenici, Doolittle, Hastert).
(Note that Justice is just the easiest specimen for study – the same power grabs are occurring at the FCC, SEC, and such, while at other departments considered unfriendly to GOP causes, such as the FDA, NASA, the FEC, and the EPA find themselves neutered and resources stripped away. Also interesting are claims by Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio that the NSA approached Qwest pre-9/11 for secret communication access and was turned away; coincidentally, Qwest subsequently lost many bids for government business; Nacchio was also coincidentally later criminally charged – and convicted, with a pending new trial – with insider trading).
The center story of all of this is the firing of 8 US Attorneys on December 7th, 2006, and the probable reasons behind the firings. Long story short, this was payback for non-cooperation in the run-up to the 2006 mid-term elections, where US Attorneys were aggressively courted by the Administration to push claims of election fraud and to prosecute high-value Democrat individuals. A handful of attorneys were non-compliant; after the GOPs disastrous showing at the polls, they were fired.
As with most things Bush has touched, the standards for central justice were lax, and the focus was not necessarily advanced the conservative legal ideology as much quick political payoff, reciprocal nepotism, or brutal Rove-style West Texas politics. The end result of this is legal intellectual lightweights doing most of the heavy lifting at Justice, particularly loads of graduates from the equivalent of a conservative diploma puppy mills like Regent (Monica Goodling) and Liberty.
At central Justice, the same occurred (via Harpers):
Bush was reelected, and he set about reshaping the Justice Department “ Gonzales replaced Ashcroft; McNulty replaced Comey; Philbin and Goldsmith left. In other words: those loyal to the Cheney-Addington vision of a President above the Rule of Law emerged triumphant, and those loyal to the Constitution were shoved out.
Each week brings news of a new investigation of someone, evidence of a gathering storm. True to form, nearly every “Friday at 5pm” brings the resignation of one of the Administration’s rouge gallery of scoundrels. It Is too late in Bush’s term to do any good, and like diseased, blood-engorged ticks, they are too deeply burrowed in the nations skin to be easily removed. Yet another ‘Mission Accomplished’!
I have to tell you – I got tired eventually – example of corruption, incompetence, and malfeasance could literally go to infinity.
What has really happened with the Bush White House, and I think this has been driven by Rove’s ideology, has been the politicization of everything. Everyone of the alphabet agencies has become part of the political apparatus, and we see the results – product recalls, salmonella in vegetables, badly designed drug studies, the ongoing erosion of NASA’s mission, the subversion of the Department of Education, the looting of the Department of the Interior, and on and on and on…
It ultimately manifests itself in the economy. Those who reap the benefits of the Bush ideology (me-and-mine first, because our labors feed the rest) likewise reap the economic rewards, at the cost of those at the bottom.