The Senate Judiciary Committee revealed today that the Justice Department’s Inspector General Glenn Fine is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may have acted unethically or illegally by attempting to "coach" Monica Goodling’s testimony.
As we all should know AG Gonzales set a new land-speed record for "I don't recall" during his own Congressional testimony on the Attorney firings matter. He justified this lack of recollection by claiming that...
I haven't talked to any of the witnesses
...which would have been his own staff, regarding the matter. However as was revealed during Monica Goodling's testimony to the House - he did speak with her. And even a crack justice expert like Monica didn't think it...
was appropriate for us to talk at that point.
Apparently neither does the DOJ's Inspector General.
Responding to a letter from Sen. Leahy regarding this matter, Fine responded.
In your letter, you referred to Monica Goodling’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on May 23, 2007, in which she stated that she had a meeting with the Attorney General in which the process leading to the removal of certain U.S. Attorneys was discussed. You asked whether our investigation includes this matter.
This is to confirm that the scope of our investigation does include this matter.
Let me just say that this just might mean that Alberto Gonzales may be in early stage Libby mode, because Obstruction of Justice happens to be one of the charges that will be putting him behind bars for 30 months.
If carried through to it's full conclusion, this investigation could very easily lead to a Grand Jury and indictment of Gonzales, but before we get too optimistic that this little barnicle might be removed from the Halls of Justice we have to remember what an outstanding job the DOJ has done at investigating itself so far.
Pat Leahy certainly has his doubts.
The last time an internal investigation at the Department of Justice got too close for comfort the White House shut it down. I hope this investigation will not suffer the same fate as the OPR inquiry into the warrantlesss wiretapping program. This internal investigation is an important step in getting to the truth behind this matter, and they should be allowed to do their jobs without interference from this Administration.
That OPR investigation which was intended to determine if the information which had been gathered via the NSA's domestic spying program had been misused was derailed by a lack of security access. Access which had been denied - according to Testimony by Alberto Gonzales - under the discretion and direction of the President.
But despite this I happen to feel that there are reasons for optimism that some measure of justice just might be implemented. Unlike the NSA case, security clearances are not at issue in the DOJ Attorney firing situation - so that avenue of blockages is closed. Secondly the FBI's own internal investigation - which parralleled the OPR's attempted audit - looked into the use and abuse of national security letters and discovered that the agency had potentially violated the law and it's own rules more than 1000 times.