09 March 2007

... Or Just Plain Incompetent?

It has not been a good couple of weeks for the Bush Administration with respect to its much vaunted commitment to the rule of law. First, we have the mass firing of US Attorneys for political reasons and Attorney General Gonzales's attempt to write that off as a "personnel matter." Now we learn from the Justice Department's Inspector General that the FBI has been abusing its powers under the "Patriot Act" to improperly gather information on American citizens. I'm shocked! In case you've missed it, you can find news reports in The New York Times here and The Guardian here. Under the Petriot Act, the FBI can issue "security letters" to request information on American Citizens essentially without Judicial oversight. According to the news reports the Agency has issued as many as 20,000 such letters, often in cases with no clear national security relevance and sometimes claiming exigencies that did not, in fact, exist. According to the investigation the FBI also misreported the number of such letters it had issued to Congressional oversight committees. The Justice IG Report suggests that these excesses are likely due to procedural lapses, poor traininng, ineffective management, and so forth rather than political motivations. Let's assume that is plausible. In that case, we can add incompetence onto Alberto Gonzales's job performance rating?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is incompetent.

10 March, 2007 21:02  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Anon. That is profound. Thanks!

10 March, 2007 22:44  

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