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The Progressive

Gonzales Lied Before, to Congress

Matthew Rothschild

It turns out that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied to reporters on March 13 about the scandal over the fired prosecutors.

At that time, Gonzales said he "was not involved in any discussions about what was going on" with the firings.

"On Friday night, however, the Justice Department revealed Gonzales's participation in a Nov. 27 meeting where such plans were made," the AP reports.

He was in on a very detailed discussion of a "five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors," according to the AP story, which cited Gonzales's aides as well as documents the Justice Department released Friday night.

But this is not the first time the Attorney General has lied.

He also lied—to Congress—back in January 2005, during his confirmation process.

According to a March 6, 2005, article in The New York Times, Gonzales submitted a written response to a question from a Senator about the Bush Administration's policy of "extraordinary rendition."

Here's what Gonzales said: "The policy of the United States is not to transfer individuals to countries where we believe they likely will be tortured, whether those individuals are being transferred from inside or outside the United States." He added that he was "not aware of anyone in the Executive Branch authorizing any transfer of a detainee in violation of that policy."

But, when Gonzales was White House counsel, Bush signed a directive shortly after 9/11 that authorized the CIA to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International estimate that the United States has transferred between 100 and 150 detainees to countries notorious for torture.

So when Congress looks into Gonzales's role—and integrity—in the sacking of the prosecutors, they may also want to investigate his role—and integrity and possible criminality—in the much more serious scandal of exporting prisoners for torture.

© 2007 The Progressive

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