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Gonzales Mishandled Classified Docs:

The Washington Post reports today that the Justice Department's Inspector General found that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales failed to take adequate precautions when handling classified documents related to various surveillance programs.

At issue are notes that Gonzales took during a March 2004 meeting between President Bush and congressional leaders in the White House Situation Room, as a program that allowed authorities to secretly monitor communications for evidence of terrorist plots was set to expire.

When Gonzales, then White House counsel, moved to become the Justice Department's top official in early 2005, he failed to secure the notes in a sensitive compartmentalized facility, the inspector general has concluded. Gonzales kept the notes in a safe in his office and at times took them to and from work in a briefcase -- practices that violated protocols for the handling of classified materials, according to people familiar with the report.

In a memo to the inspector general, Gonzales's advisers characterized the episode as an unintentional mistake and a technical violation of the rules.

Officials in the Justice Department's national security division looked at the inspector general's report but did not find a case to prosecute, according to a source familiar with the deliberations.

armchairpunter:
Thankfully, he did not match the level of care and responsibility demonstrated by congressional leaders when it comes to sensitive matters.
9.2.2008 9:25am
mad the swine (mail):
"Gonzales kept the notes in a safe in his office and at times took them to and from work in a briefcase -- practices that violated protocols for the handling of classified materials, according to people familiar with the report."

There's the problem. If he has just smuggled them out in his socks, everything would have been fine - right, libs?
9.2.2008 9:43am
donaldk2 (mail):
It makes you wonder why capable individuals shun public service.
9.2.2008 10:17am
gaymale (www):
meetinggay.com for gay love and more, may be you will find your love here, guys! LOL
9.2.2008 10:23am
J. Aldridge:
Well least Gonzales didn't intentionally remove and destroy copies of a classified documents about the Clinton administration's record on terrorism.... and lie about it when caught red-handed.
9.2.2008 10:43am
taney71:
Bad and boneheaded. Wouldn't expect less from him. Still not as terrible as Clinton's former National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, who took classified material from NARA and destroyed some documents. I still wonder what was on the papers he destroyed.
9.2.2008 10:45am
Hoosier:
(I'm not looking for a male partner. Thanks anyways gaymale.)

Berger, Gonzales . . .

With all those claified documents floating around, I'm amazed that the International Zionist Conspiracy hasn't been outed yet.
9.2.2008 10:54am
Adam J:
I dislike Gonzales with a passion, but seriously, who cares? I suspect every high level government official has mishandled classified docs at one point or another in their career.
9.2.2008 11:23am
Cornellian (mail):
It's the kind of "technical violation" that lands you in jail if you're one of the little people.
9.2.2008 11:42am
A. Nony Mouse:
Obama would rather lose the war in Iraq than let Gonzalez take classified documents home with him.
9.2.2008 12:18pm
Happyshooter:
Yep, some Captain, GS-7, or Corporal who did that would be looking at jail time.

Gonzales will get a report that gets buried and MAYBE comes out when he gets appointed judge. Heck, Clinton's guy stole classifed docs, got caught, and got a vague slap on the wrist.
9.2.2008 12:26pm
Nathan_M (mail):
In fairness to Mr. Gonzales, there is a good chance he had arranged for the documents to be improperly classified to prevent the disclosure of politically embarrassing news, so he knew the country's security was never at risk.
9.2.2008 12:27pm
PLR:
Thank God the ever-diligent IG of the DOJ has put that raging controversy to bed.
9.2.2008 12:32pm
DG:
Happyshooter is dead on. Even accidentally taking classified documents out of a facility results in punishment. This was intentional. Senior leaders, both in the executive branch and in congress can get away with this stuff all the time. What a horrible double standard.

As far as improper classification - 90% of the classified documents I saw shouldn't have been classified - it was a joke. Well, a joke and a way around FOIA.
9.2.2008 12:32pm
mad the swine (mail):
"Senior leaders, both in the executive branch and in congress can get away with this stuff all the time. What a horrible double standard."

And the President and Vice President can legally declassify classified information (say, the identity of a covert agent) whereas newspaper reporters cannot. And, oh, wait, the manager at a convenience store can take money out of the store safe and a new hire just off the street can't. I'm sure you think that's terribly unfair, too.

Rank has its privileges.
9.2.2008 12:38pm
Sarcastro (www):
mad the swine makes a great point, even if it has little to do with Gonzalez. Our national security apparatus serves the President, not the country.
9.2.2008 12:46pm
none_ (mail):
hes like sandy berger, but a republican! must not be a serious violation.
9.2.2008 1:16pm
EH (mail):
I think it's telling that so many of the comments so far illustrate that history sees (so far) Gonzales as a joke. Should he ever be a judge?
9.2.2008 1:48pm
AnnapolisMD (mail):
If this had been any other person other than the Gonzales, his ass would be in jail right now. Fricken repugs make me sick!
9.2.2008 2:04pm
Gregory Conen (mail):
I have to agree with Happyshooter. This isn't partisan bias (see Sandy Berger), it's bias towards power.

@MadtheSwine: Gonzales doesn't have the power to declassify documents. And he certainly doesn't have the power to ignore established procedures. This is a government of laws.
9.2.2008 2:11pm
EH (mail):
mad the swine:

From where does the Vice President derive his power to declassify?
9.2.2008 2:27pm
GMS:
Geez, could there be a lamer story than this? Somebody keeps his own notes in a safe in the friggin' Department of Justice, and he should be in jail for mishandling classified documents? I know Gonzales Derangement Syndrome is powerful, but this what is known as a "technical violation."

I mean, it's not like he leaked the information to the New York Times or anything.
9.2.2008 3:02pm
loki13 (mail):
Hmmmm... this story just isn't getting the attention is needs. Maybe you need to re-title it. How about, "Palin Mishandled Classified Docs". That should get about ten billion comments.

So let's see- this is either the worst violation ever, or no big deal, depending on whether you're a Republican or a Democrat. Oh, and Sandy Berger. Heck, throw in Wen Ho Lee while you're at it.

Does reality have a partisan bias, now?
9.2.2008 3:30pm
Apodaca:
Somebody keeps his own notes in a safe in the friggin' Department of Justice

Gonzales's house in northern Virginia is inside the Department of Justice?
9.2.2008 3:52pm
Smokey:
AnnapolisMD:
If this had been any other person other than the Gonzales, his ass would be in jail right now. Fricken repugs make me sick!
Hmm-m. Annapolis MD makes a self-diagnosis: He's sick. Yep. In the head, no doubt.

Try some reading comprehension, doc. Did Sandy Burglar go to jail for putting classified documents in his underwear and socks, and sneaking them out? Wasn't Berger's theft of classified documents a lot worse than this minor kerfuffle? [Hint: Sandy Burglar was convicted.]

If Gonzales is ever convicted, wake me.
9.2.2008 4:36pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

And the President and Vice President can legally declassify classified information (say, the identity of a covert agent) whereas newspaper reporters cannot.


Actually, since the President and Vice-President are not involved in running covert operations, there are almost no circumstances in which they have a legitimate need to know the identity of a covert agent. In the Plame case, for example, they only obtained that information for the express purpose of abusing it for partisan purposes.
9.2.2008 4:41pm
Sarcastro (www):
This just in: Gonzalez can do whatever he wants so long as Sandy Burger is an idiot!
9.2.2008 4:44pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Sacrastro: You are very unfair to Gonzo. What happens when Sandy wises up and stops doing stupid things? You would besmirch the good name of Gonzo, history's greatest AG. Have you no shame!
9.2.2008 6:27pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
I agree with those who think Gonzales' actions are less significant than those of Sandy Burglar, but they are significant nonetheless. With access to classified documents comes the responsibility to handle them carefully.

JHA
9.2.2008 7:11pm
Eli Rabett (www):
John Deutch
9.2.2008 10:05pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Um - at least Gonzales didn't steal classified documents from the National Archives and destroy them - like Sandy Berger.

I'm pretty sure what Berger did was worse.
9.3.2008 1:50am
ParatrooperJJ (mail):
Bill - Plame was not a covert agent. She had a desk job in the states and was a known employee of the CIA.
9.3.2008 10:59am
mary:
... Report: Ex-AG won't be charged for mishandling secret papers....

WAIT a minute, this is the guy that makes the law of the land!

He should be hung out to dry.

If it were you or me, it would be curtains, we would be sentenced for 30 years or life.

Why do these guys get a 'pass' or a slap on the wrist?
Why isn't the public outraged?

Why can YOU get pulled over for a traffic ticket and by the end of the day, you end up being arrested for a felony!

This is reprehensible. He read and SIGNED that he understood procedures.

Who's watching the watchers?
9.3.2008 1:13pm
Fat Man (mail):
There is a certain level of irony in the MSM, which never saw a classified document that it did not make the subject of a front page story, being concerned about the handling of classified documents by others.
9.3.2008 1:24pm
Segodnya (mail):
Berger and Gonzales are both guilty of a felony. EVERYONE who gets access to classified information signs a statement saying that s/he will secure all classified info, will not leave it unattended in unsecure locations (like socks, briefcases, one's home, etc.), and that s/he is well aware of the federal laws which punish people for doing just that.

All of the drivel about "unintentional mistakes," etc., would have landed you and & me in jail had we done the same thing.
9.3.2008 4:22pm