Hide And Seek
Looks like the DoJ was trying to play a little hide and seek with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in terms of document production to Congress:
The Justice Department is refusing to release hundreds of pages of additional documents related to the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, setting up a fresh clash with Capitol Hill in a controversy that continues to threaten Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's hold on his position.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, whose investigators have been allowed to view, but not obtain copies of, the records in question, is preparing subpoenas for those papers as well as for all e-mails or documents from the Justice Department and the White House connected to the dismissals of the prosecutors….
But trust in Gonzales among Capitol Hill Democrats has evaporated amid revelations from the almost 4,000 pages of documents the Justice Department has released to date, some of which have contradicted a string of statements from the attorney general about the dismissals. Gonzales first told the Judiciary Committee, during a hearing 11 weeks ago, that there was no intent to avoid Senate confirmation for the replacements of the fired prosecutors….
Senate Democrats now want all Justice Department documents related to the firings, includingthe previously unreleased ones deemed too sensitive for release by the agency. Democratic investigators were upset to learn about the additional batch of records in recent visits to the department, according to a Senate aide who requested anonymity to talk freely about the standoff.
The aide said the Senate Judiciary Committee "has lodged objections several times" about not being given the new documents. They were discovered over the past two weeks as staff investigators for the House and Senate judiciary panels, working in a special office inside the Justice Department, reviewed the censored portions of e-mails and other records that had already been sent to Capitol Hill in redacted form, according to Justice Department and Senate aides.
For the record, it is never a good idea to redact documents and not fully inform the people to whom they are given that redactions have occurred. It is especially inadvisable to do this with information which is material to an investigation. It could be construed as obstruction, and we all know how the Bush Administration hates to throw a wrench into the works of an investigation into possible wrongdoing, now don't we?
Clearly the DoJ was used to the old way of doing things when the GOP controlled Congress — we give you an opportunity to look at the docs in our office, you send over a team of folks to give them a cursory glance, "nothing to see here," and we all skip happily along down the bunny trail. Too bad the Democratic takeover spoiled the fun, isn't it? Just makes me ask myself: what else are they trying to hide?
Perhaps this might be part of the problem — and it is a great catch by Peterr:
Reading the TPM stuff and other links brought a question to mind: just who might that “top justice official” have been from DC?
The “Executive Office of US Attorneys” seems to be in a bit of a staff shakeup itself. From the DOJ’s webpage for the EOUSAs:
Office of the Director
Steve Parent — Acting Director
John Kelly — Deputy Director and Chief of Staff
Steve Parent — Deputy Director
John Nowacki — Principal Deputy Director
Counsel to the Director
John Nowacki — Acting Counsel to the Director
Natalie Voris — Associate Counsel to the Director
Hmmmm . . . Parent and Nowacki are pulling double duty, with both the Director and the Director’s Counsel positions vacant.
Seems to me that the DoJ is faring no better under its current management than the folks in Paulose's office. What a horrible mess. Emptywheel and The Muck have more on the documents issue.