The Dynamic Duo of Discrepancy

"It will be interesting to know what the true facts are," President George W. Bush told ABC News the other night when asked about the Central Intelligence Agency's premature and perhaps illegal destruction of interrogation recordings.

Of course, the president doesn't have to wait for the investigations to unfold. All he has to do is pick up the phone and call a couple of his old pals.

First, he can call former White House counsel Harriet Miers (whose Washington legacy becomes more tainted each month). Miers was at her post when the CIA got rid of the tapes in late 2005.

"Hey, Harriet," the president should ask, "did you order the CIA to keep the tapes? Or did you express your 'opposition' to destroying them in a way that would leave wiggle room for the agency to do what it wanted to do?"

"Hey, Harriet," he should add, "couldn't we have protected the tapes? I mean, we've argued all these years that presidential power in the war on terrorism is virtually unlimited."

The president's second call could be to his even closer friend, Alberto Gonzales. I'm sure the disgraced former attorney general would take the call between the big-money speeches he's giving at colleges across the country.

"Hey, Al," the president should ask. "Where was the Justice Department when the CIA was begging for permission to destroy the tapes? Did you guys know that, at the same time, a federal judge was asking federal prosecutors about the tapes' existence?"

"Hey Al," the president should ask, "did you gin up one of your famous 'memos' to authorize the destruction of the tapes? I mean, if you could justify torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions, what's a little domestic obstruction of justice?"

It's hard to know which would be more disconcerting -- that the president is actually as ignorant as the rest of us about this scandal or that he knows way more about it than he will say.

But if the destruction of material evidence is a shocking violation of the rule of law, it also has a bit of an upside. Maybe now, finally, there will be enough political will to haul the Duo of Discrepancy, Miers and Gonzales, into a closed room on Capitol Hill for under-oath, on-the-record questioning about their roles in the affair. After all, what are friends for?

By Andrew Cohen |  December 12, 2007; 7:50 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I think the Justice Department has done a wonderful job of converting the US into a prison state. We have more prisoners than any other country and more prisoners per capita than any other country. So the Justice department has done it.

When one is indicted by the Justice Dept that person is guilty. That old idea that one is innocent until proven guilty is no longer the case. You are guilty when indicted and unless you are a multi-millionaire you will have to plead guilty since no ordinary person has enough money to go to trial.

Posted by: Jon Schiller | December 12, 2007 11:37 AM

I like the first paragraph: " 'It will be interesting to know what the true facts are,' President George W. Bush told ABC News the other night when asked about the Central Intelligence Agency's premature and perhaps illegal destruction of interrogation recordings."

So apparently, the president CAN distinguish "true facts" from "false facts." I wasn't sure he knew the difference.

Posted by: Dee | December 12, 2007 12:02 PM

Interesting that George W should be awaiting the "true facts" - he never seemed to do that when HE had the upper hand on an issue.

Posted by: JUDGITO | December 12, 2007 12:03 PM

Alternative explanation:
David Addington ordered the tapes destruction and Harriet Miers did, in fact, order their preservation. Faced with duel orders, who would you obey as a peon CIA lawyer, especially if you were under multiple oaths and duties and penalties to keep everything secret?

Posted by: William Smith | December 12, 2007 12:16 PM

"Of course, the president doesn't have to wait for the investigations to unfold. All he has to do is pick up the phone and call a couple of his old pals."

Can he do that now?

Would it possibly be Tampering with an Investigation, or depending on what was asked, Obstruction of Justice? Remember Speedy Gonzalez's conversation with this Administration's Monica (Goodling).

Or is it as easy as Sy posed the other day using the Nixon Doctrine, "Well, when the President does it that means that it is not illegal."?

Posted by: DC | December 12, 2007 12:25 PM

Mr.Bush already knows the true facts.The CIA acted on direct orders from the White House.Mr.Bush has said that he is "the decider",he is responsible for actions taken on his orders.The buck stops with Bush.He enjoys the benifits of the office of the Presidency,he must accept the responsibilities.

Posted by: Nannie Turner | December 12, 2007 01:07 PM

Haydens "it happened before I got here"is really unique for its denilabity. Its more original than Gonzo's "I don't remember" or Harriet "get out of town before I get supeonaed" Miers. If this Admin spent as much time governing as they do sitting around figureing out new ways for denialabily we may be in better shape. I don't mean that. The less governing he does the better off we are.

Posted by: edfeeney | December 12, 2007 03:19 PM

I am fortunate that I am heading into the winter of my years. Our country has deteriorated under Reagan, Nixon and the Bushes to a state of corruption, hostility and rot never before matched in American history. "I pity the fool" who tries to right their wrongs. But God bless those who try.

Posted by: Margaret King | December 12, 2007 03:30 PM

The President would be interested to know what the true facts are. His assertio0n on national television.

We need an amendment to the Constitution making gross incompetence, OR gross neglect of duty or gross malfeasance as impeachable acts, sans "High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

That standard to be applicable to every appointment that requires the consent of the Senate, and especially to the President, Vice President, and Cabinet Officers.

Then we could impeach George, Dick, and the top three tiers of the Federal Government in one trial. Nancy Pelosi would become President, and for the short duration of her term she would have to call in retired Cabinet officers from past administrations to hold the fort until an election and the beginning of a new administration.

Even if that produced virtual non existance of the Government for a few moths it would be a vast improvement over the current Fraud, Waste, and Abuse.

Posted by: | December 12, 2007 06:01 PM

I am beginning to wonder if perhaps this whole idea that we still live in a democratic nation is a ruse. Mr. Bush and Cheney defy or subvert the law at every turn,claim to be Christian men yet,condone torture techniques that would not be used on an animal. They continuously devise ways of placing themeselves and thier position out of reach of U.S. Law.They elevate like minded,incompetent sycophants into positions of power that will effect this country's performance and reputation for generations. They lie ,then deny the lie and tell another to cover the first.All the while we have the familiar, never ending, B.S. waltz back and forth: congress meets to discuss the laws the president has broken,the president claims,faulty memory, executive priviledge or national security or all three,congress feigns outrage and then go off to debate the next presidential violation in a long and constantly expanding list.
I am beginning to believe The U.S. Government exists soley for the purpose of ensuring that they continue to exist.Congress is making a farce of our government,carrying out only the necessary,bare minimum,functions in order to keep recieving the pay,recognition,ego boosting and Medical and retirement benefits that the public begs for but will never have. Our Senators create laws restricting the president's stolen powers knowing that they will in all reality be declared void by way of presidential signing statements. The people who make and should enforce our laws consistently back off on thier threats of punishment, or worse, remain agreeable to the Executive Crimminals in the White House.
Go ahead Congress,Let the Neocons, Mr. Bush and Cheney do whatever they want. They are going to anyway. Besides the show is getting old and predictable.
I hope you are proud that you are the men and women in this 110th US Congress who let this great country deteriorate before your eyes.I'm sure you will take comfort to know, that at least you will be last to have your pay checks stopped after the U.S. has bankrupted itself,trying to show what beligerant World Bullies good "christian" people are capable of being. At least our congressman and senators will have not suffered as long as the rest of us once middle class, common folk have.
The United States was a nice Idea while it lasted. Thanks for your,selfish, unpatriotic, inattention and ineptitude. At least it was amusing at times.

Posted by: BD Rollens | December 12, 2007 09:35 PM

George Bush and his apologists wouldn't recognize the unvarnished truth if it came up and kissed them, which is why Lady Truth is about to come up and send him and all his pals into perpetual exile.

As for any response we're likely to hear from the White House, even when testifying under oath, or from the Justice Department, whose mission is to defend Bushco,

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Posted by: VA_Lady2007 | December 13, 2007 06:52 AM

saved lives...yup...I know how disturbing that can be for so many of you non-participants.

wanna get really vexed...then turn toward your lieing heros/heroines on the left who were informed. you frauds are so transparent.


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