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The IG Loophole

Remember how Senator Whitehouse busted Alberto Gonzales for trying to bury the DOJ’s internal investigation of the USA firing into the Office of Professional Responsibility, which has no authority over potential illegalities and doesn’t issue public reports? Remember how Paul Clement, who has ostensibly been in charge of DOJ’s internal investigation since the time Gonzales recused himself, has at the same time been defending the White House’s ability to keep materials from Congress? Well, that’s not the only way AGAG has managed to avoid any incrimination on this matter. Here’s the second bombshell question Leahy asked AGAG:

Other Inspectors General can investigate misconduct throughout their agencies.  Apparently, the Department of Justice Inspector General suffers under a limitation that restricts his ability to investigation misconduct by you, the Deputy Attorney General, and other senior Department lawyers.  Will you agree to the removal of this limitation on the Department of Justice Inspector General so that the Inspector General may investigate misconduct by you, other senior Department of Justice officials, lawyers, and law enforcement agents?

In other words, all those assurances that DOJ was conducting an investigation into this issue? Well those assurances were utterly cynical and false. DOJ’s IG, apparently, can’t investigate AGAG and his clique!!! Yet we’re supposed to rest assured that DOJ can investigate this themselves???

Frankly, I don’t know why Leahy bothers. At this point, it’s time to call for a Special Counsel to take over the USA Purge investigation. Alternately, HJC can take it on, under the full weight of an impeachment investigation. But it’s well past clear that 1) Alberto Gonzales is actively obstructing any investigation into the USA Purge with his little games and 2) there is no way DOJ can conduct the investigation themselves.

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.