Water Man Spouts

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Burdens of Proof

{1} "He gave me a little lecture about breaking a conspiracy like Watergate. ‘You build convincingly from the outer edges in, you get ten times the evidence you need against the Hunts and Liddys. They feel hopelessly finished – they may not talk right away, but the grip is on them. Then you move up and do the same thing on the next level. If you shoot too high and miss, then everyone feels more secure. Lawyers work this way. I’m sure smart reporters must too.’ I recall he gave me a look as if to say I did not belong in that category of smart reporters." – The Secret Man; Bob Woodward; 2005; page 91.


{2} "Deep Throat moved close to Woodward. ‘Let me explain something,’ he said. ‘When you move on somebody like Haldeman, you’ve got to be sure you’re on the most solid ground. Shit, what a royal screw-up!’

"He stepped even closer, speaking in a whisper. ‘I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t know, but your essential facts are right. From top to bottom, this whole business is a Haldeman operation. He ran the money. Insulated himself through those functionaries around him. Now, how do you get at it? …. This guy is bright, and can be smooth when necessary …. But most of the time he is not smooth. He is Assistant President and everyone has access to him if they want to take it. He sends out the orders; he can be very nasty about it.’

"Haldeman had four principal assistants to whom he delegated orders but not responsibility: Lawrence Higby – ‘a young-punk nobody who does what he is told’; Chapin – ‘smarter and more urbane than Higby, but also a dedicated yes-man’; Strachan – ‘soldierly and capable’; and Alexander Butterfield – ‘an ex-Air Force colonel who knows how to push paper and people.’ …..

"Deep Throat stamped his foot. ‘A conspiracy like this … a conspiracy investigation … the rope has to tighten slowly around everyone’s neck. You build convincingly from the outer edges in, you get ten times the evidence you need against the Hunts and Liddys. They feel helplessly finished – they may not talk right away, but the grip is on them. Then you move up and do the same thing at the next level. If you shoot too high and miss, then everybody feels more secure. Lawyers work this way. I’m sure smart reporters must, too’." – All the President’s Men; Woodward & Bernstein; 1974; 195-6.


Monica Goodling will "take the 5th." When her attorney, John Dowd, said that "one need look no fuirther than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby" to understand why his client would exercise this option, many of us did look further – to the Iran-Contra and the Watergate scandals. Indeed, historians and political scientists recognize the advantages of looking to numerous "circumstances and proceedings" – just as good attorneys and journalists do. And the current scandal provides another good example of why we should let history be our guide.

Mr. Dowd has hinted at something many of us suspect: that there is at least one person who is providing the Senate with "inside" information on what is happening within the Department of Justice. It is likely that some investigators close to the Senate took stock of the people at the levels below the Attorney General, and below Ms. Goodling, and determined who would be most likely to have some appreciation for the integrity of the law. More, they likely have decided who would be most interested in self-preservation. These two descriptions might fit one person, or two, or more.

A good investigator will compare the various statements each person has made with previous statements, and with other things such as e-mails and information provided by others. Each piece of evidence becomes a thread that combines to form the rope that Mr. Felt said "has to tighten slowly around everyone’s neck."

I appreciate that every citizen of the United States should enjoy the freedoms and the protections provided by the Constitution, and of that Bill of Rights in particular. We should not allow our emotions to cloud our vision when it comes to the 5th Amendment – as Benjamin Franklin said, "When passions drive, let reason hold the reins."

Yet there is something disturbing about a senior official in the highest law enforcement office in this nation refusing to testify about his/her role in a Congressional investigation. The extent of the corruption that Felt’s rope ties to this administration is staggering. They have betrayed this nation.

1 Comments:

At March 28, 2007 at 4:56 PM, Blogger hizzoner said...

In your opinion, do we have the talent available to make the case you describe? Is Waxman up to it?

True...from all the evidence, they have betrayed this nation, but the question is this? Did they (the DOJ Officials) betray the nation of their own accord, or, were they following the directives of higher-ups?

Josh Marshall proclaimed, just Monday I believe, that we should/must remember that Gonzalas isn't a renegade public official ; he's following precisely the orders that Bush and his political advisor gave him. This is, in the final analysis, a Bush Operation.

Warmest personal regards,

hizzhoner

(e)

 

Post a Comment

<< Home