In November 2007, senawhores Feinstein and Schumer bolted ranks and voted to confirm fellow think-alike Mukasey as Attorney General. Nothing partisan here.
Explaining yet another one of her DemoPublican switcheroos Feinstein wrote in the LA Times (32 Nov 07) “Judge Mukasey is not Alberto R. Gonzales.” The Justice Department was demoralized and needed “a new dynamic of independence from the White House”
Feinstein acknowledged that “serious questions”had been raised about Mukasey’s “views on torture” but that he had assured her in a personal letter that he knew that water-boarding was “illegal” under US Military Law and the Geneva Conventions.
“Congress,” Feinstein wrote, “should go further and explicitly ban waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques for all parts of the government” presumably including the Post Office, the Department of Education and perhaps even the CIA.
Until then, however, “the bottom line” was that she “hope[d]” Judge Mukasey would “direct the Justice Department where the facts and the law lead, not where the White House dictates.”
Of course the real bottom line is that both Mukasey and Feinstein were hiding under The Rock of Technicalities -- waterboarding whether it was fun or folly was not yet “illegal” for the CIA.
Schumer was no less two-faced. In an article penned for the Spew York Times (06 Nov 07) he explained that he was voting for Mukasey because the Justice Deparment was in “desperate need of a strong leader, committed to depoliticizing the agency’s operations.” “Most important,” Schumer wrote, “Judge Mukasey has demonstrated his fidelity to the rule of law”
Ah... but then came the fine print on the encyclopedia installment purchase plan.... While Mukasey’s refusal to state that waterboarding was “illegal” was deeply unsatisfactory to Schumer --- deeply --- “ Congress is now considering — and I hope we will soon pass — a law that would explicitly ban the use of waterboarding and other abusive interrogation techniques. And I am confident that Judge Mukasey would enforce that law.”
Ah... the Schumer Shuffle... praise Mukasey for fidelity to legality, excoriate him not stating that waterboarding was “illegal” when it wasn’t and then express a pious hope that Congress might one day pass and Mukasey might one day enforce a law illegalizing waterboarding.
Actually, most people didn’t give a rats ass about Chuck's legalities. What most people found offensive was Mukasey’s helpless moral quandary as to whether dunking was torture or not, as a matter of painful fact.
The Schumer Shuffle concluded by stating that “if we block Judge Mukasey’s nomination and then learn in six months that waterboarding has continued unabated, that victory [for Law] will seem much less valuable. No one questions that Judge Mukasey would do much to remove the stench of politics from the Justice Department. I believe we should give him that chance.”
Ah... but the Stench from the Hill...
Today, Dan Eggen of the Washington Post reported
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said this morning that waterboarding was deemed legal by the Justice Department at the time it was used by the CIA on three al-Qaeda captives, and as a result the Justice Department "cannot possibly" investigate whether a crime occurred. . . .
Mukasey's remarks were a direct rebuff to demands from many leading Democrats this week that the Justice Department open a criminal probe into the CIA's use of waterboarding, . . .
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Wednesday that President Bush could approve the use of the tactic again and that such a decision would "depend on the circumstances," ...
Mukasey, is scheduled to appear before the Judiciary Committee again, where no doubt he will be grilled with mock mercilessness by Schumer and Feinstein, who will demand that he follow a law Congress has not passed.
And the stench rolls on.