Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a chief architect in constructing the legal arguments that President Bush has "plenary powers" to invade countries, torture prisoners, and spy on Americans without warrants, now wants to "clarify" his testimony to the Senate on NSA domestic surveillance.
He must have been reading up on his predecessor John Mitchell, who was Attorney General under Richard Nixon, and the first Attorney General of the United States to be convicted and imprisoned for illegal activities.
In 1975, Mitchell was sentenced to prison for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury committed in connection with his involvement in the Watergate break-in and cover up. The Nixon tapes and insider testimony revealed that Mitchell had been in on the planning to break into the Democratic Party's headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.
Keep in mind, now, that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and other Bush administration luminaries cut their political teeth during the Nixon administration. Cheney has often remarked publicly that he seeks to restore powers to the presidency that were stripped away by Congress in the wake of Nixon's Vietnam and Watergate fiascos.
And jump back to the present.
Gonzales is now saying that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic operations might, kind of, sort of, maybe have extended beyond the outlines that Mr. Bush acknowledged in December 2005 when the NSA spy scandal story first hit national headlines. And it's possible that perhaps, well, you know, that Gonzales didn't exactly tell the, uh, truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help him God when he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the domestic spying program at his confirmation hearings and in his testimony to that committee at the NSA investigation hearings.
Do you think it's possible that the Sons of Nixon applied new technology to an old dog's trick? I mean, why risk breaking into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters when you can listen to every phone call and read every e-mail that goes in and out of it?
If that's what happened, Berto was right in the thick of it, and at this point he's open to charges of conspiring, obstructing justice, and perjuring.
Berto sure wouldn't want to go to prison over that. He's a darn sight prettier man than John Mitchell was.
And let's not lose track of another piece of this power puzzle. Why was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter so insistent that Gonzales not be required to take an oath of honesty prior to his testimony on the NSA spy program? Now that Specter's hair has grown back, he's looking kinda cute too, don't you think?