Attorney General Gonzales has been busy testifying before Congress. His careful parsing brings you the following entertaining episodes of Constitution shredding and defendant torturing.
Sen. Arlen Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus?
AG Gonzales: I meant by that comment that the Constitution doesn’t say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.
Ain’t careful parsing grand?
Second, brought to our attention by eudaemonia, Patrick Leahy loses patience with “assurances from Syria”:
GONZALES: I think General Ashcroft confirmed this publicly, that there were assurances sought that he would not be tortured from Syria.
LEAHY: Attorney General… (derisive chuckle) … I’m sorry. I don’t mean to treat this lightly. We knew damn well, if he went to Canada, he wouldn’t be tortured. He’d be held. He’d be investigated.
We also knew damn well, if he went to Syria, he’d be tortured. And it’s beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured.
You know, and I know, that has happened a number of times, in the past five years, by this country. It is a black mark on us. It has brought about the condemnation of some of our closest and best allies. They have made those comments both publicly and privately to the president of the United States and others.
And it is easy for us to sit here comfortably in this room knowing that we’re not going to be sent off to another country to be tortured, to treat it as though, well, Attorney General Ashcroft says we’ve got assurances.
Assurances from a country that we also say, now, we can’t talk to them because we can’t take their word for anything?
Senator Leahy was not amused and promised more hearings if he didn’t get better answers within the week.
Attorney General does not sound like the most fun job in the world right now.