We've been knee deep in the ugliness over at the Department of Justice for the past several weeks and a few things have emerged:
1. Some of the greatest mistakes this Administration made were the nominations of former U.S. Attorneys James Comey and Paul McNulty to serve as Deputy Attorneys General. Comey begat us Pat "The Inquisitor" Fitzgerald. McNulty was pivotal to the firings of eight Bush Administration-appointed U.S. Attorneys, but is trying to avoid the blame by, apparently, blaming others.
2. One person emerges from this sordid little story of back-biting and betrayal as clean: Monica Goodling, a senior counsel to the Attorney General and the White House liason at DOJ.
From what we hear, Goodling can be intense and focused, but she is more than highly competent, scrupulous in her approach to her jobs, intensely loyal to the Bush Administration, and the last person who would involve herself in something this messy. Yet she has become central to this Democrat show trial, and has been forced to take the 5th, not because of anything wrong, but to avoid having her honest testimony tainted by others.
"She was probably the most ethical person I dealt with at the department," says a former Justice media staffer. "She was actually a pain in the [rear] when it came to what she expected of all of us. We're talking about a person who wouldn't let junior people ride in a government car if it wasn't entirely appropriate and done by the books. Meticulous doesn't describe her properly."
From the email that's been released by Congress and DOJ, Goodling appears to be guilty of nothing more than doing her job. Initially, her role appears to be that of trying to find a temporary slot for the prospective Arkansas U.S. Attorney designate, because he was in-between a job at the White House upon returning from this military service. That's what a White House liason does. Finds work for people the White House has decided to hire for the Administration.
She did participate in the meetings related to the firings of the U.S. Attorneys, but her role appear to be limited to her job as White House liason. Again, doing her job. At other points, in the email traffic, she appears to be working as a traffic cop, trying to make sure everyone who should be involved in what is a serious process, is involved. This includes McNulty, his chief of staff, various folks in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and elsewhere. Again, it appears she was doing what she was supposed to be doing.
So why is she being treated like a second-rate burglar from another era? Because the Democrats can do it, now that they control Congress. And because when you get right down to it, they aren't nice people, and apparently Goodling is.
At some point, the persons who put Goodling in this mess has to pay. But who is going to make that happen? Attorney General Gonzales would earn some points by making sure those beneath him responsible for this mess - and the pain being inflicted unnecessarily on Goodling - were hung out to dry as they have done with others.
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