And again, what were the Pat Robertson' U grad Goodling's primary qualifications before joining the Department of Justice? She worked with Barbara Comstock and Timothy Griffin (the US Attorney from Arkansas who Rove pushed through under the patriot act) at the Bush Cheney oppo research department in 2000.
It doesn't automatically make her a criminal, but it sure stinks of unethical politicization of the Justice Department.
She goes onto make what seems to be a generalized comment.
Many of us were told to pipe down when we complained that the Justice Department and the NSA had been involved in spying on Americans with no oversight.But now that we know that Barbara Comstock, Monica Goodling and Tim Griffin, Karl Rove's personal smear artists, were promoted to the highest reaches of the federal police agencies with access to records on their political opponents and every other American, then it's clear that we weren't suspicious enough. At this point, I think we have to assume that with these people in charge and having the use of all the new powers of the Patriot Act, there have been no limits at all on the partisan, political use of the government's investigative powers.
To which I'd like to raise a specific example. MZM. MZM, you see, was contracted to engage in some of the most abusive domestic spying under DOD's CIFA program (contracted through the part of DOD, incidentally, where Mitch Wade first got his start under Dick Cheney in the early 1990s). And Carol Lam got fired for getting too close to Brent Wilkes' and Dusty Foggo's ties to Duke Cunningham's pocketbook. Not to mention getting to close to Jerry Lewis, who as Chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approved the key contracts to MZM. So I'd like to suggest that these issues--the politicization of DOJ, the firing of Carol Lam, and the interruption of the investigation into Lewis and Foggo and Wilkes may be more closely related than we know.
MZM and USA Purge
Now MZM has been in the news of late because Henry Waxman has decided to go back and check into the contracting surrounding the original MZM contract. Of particular interest is the fact that that first contract--a July 2002 contract for $140,000--netted exactly same amount of money that Mitchell Wade paid for the Duke-stir, a yacht he gave to Duke Cunningham for, um, services rendered. So it looks an awful lot like that contract Wade got with Cheney's office turned into a big bribe for Duke Cunningham.
Josh Marshall revealed last week, that contract was for screening the President's mail:
Today I got a glance at a key section of the book and it reveals that what that contract was really for was for screening the president's mail.
That's right, screening the president's mail, presumably for Anthrax and other similar biohazards.
This afternoon, we've independently confirmed that this is the case. According to a knowledgeable source, the text of the contract itself refers to "threat mail technology insertion" which we believe is spook-speak for screening technology for Anthrax and other biohazards.
Now, that first contract is interesting because of the way it might tie Dick Cheney into the firing of Carol Lam. But there are other contracts that tie MZM right into domestic spying and--if BushCO is anything like the Nixon Administration (ha!), the kind of opposition research that Digby's been talking about. You see, two months after starting its Federal contracting history by working for Dick Cheney, MZM went on to get a big chunk of CIFA business, a now out-of-control domestic spying program run through Defense.
MZM and CIFA
CIFA is, along with the National Security Letters Congress is now cracking down on, probably the biggest abuse of civil rights and privacy BushCo has hatched up. It was designed to gather intelligence on threats to defense installments in the United States--to try to collect information (in the TALON database) on threatening people scoping out domestic bases. But it ended up focusing on peace activists and the lefty blogosphere's own Jesus' General. 70 percent of CIFA's employees are contractors, a figure that makes it a prime candidate for politicized contracting scandal.
In an early post on MZM's CIFA contracts, I said the following:
Back when Nixon was spying on his enemies, he used the agencies of the US government. He was using civil servants subject to congressional oversight to do his dirty work. But the newfangled Republican party learned in Iran-Contra that, if you outsource the dirty work far enough, you're more likely to avoid the oversight that will lead to discovery.
So let me connect the dots here. Republican legislators have set up this nifty scheme, whereby their buddies ply them with golf trips, swank real estate deals, and prostitutes. In exchange for that booty, they give their buddies contracts at Defense or Homeland Security or CIA. Spying contracts. Under those spying contracts, the buddies spy on American citizens, even funny bloggers and peaceniks. And although it is known that these buddies are a little sloppy with the way they spy on American citizens, they continue to get more work.
I'd add one wrinkle to my earlier understanding of this "new and improved domestic spying." What if, in this newfangled scheme, you protect the scheme by firing any prosecutors who get too close to discovering the underlying scheme? What if, in order to protect the domestic spying you set up under the guise of a terrorist threat, you set up a way to install politicized US Attorneys using the specter of terrorist threats? Imagine Monica Goodling, opposition research flunky turned top DOJ lawyer, influencing whether or not Carol Lam got the axe before she got to expose the spying for bribery scheme?
It's all speculation at this point, mind you. But a look at my handy-dandy chronology shows that the timing would make sense:
- September 2002, then Deputy Secretary of Defense for Counter-Intelligence Burtt (the guy who resigned yesterday) establishes CIFA to oversee counterintelligence units of the armed services; consulting on the new agency was James King, recently retired director of National Imagery and Mapping Agency and MZM vice president
- Late 2002, Cunningham got Mitchell Wade a data storage contract worth $6 million, of which $5.4 was profit
- January 2004, Cunningham added $16.5 million to defense authorization for a "collaboration center" that appears to include business for Wade's company
- December 2005, Pincus reveals a CIFA database contains raw intelligence data on peace activists (and, presumably, Jesus' General)
- March 2006, prosecutors in the Cunningham case announce they're reviewing CIFA contracts to MZM
- March 2006, Stephen Cambone announces an investigation of CIFA's contracting--the investigation is (like the investigation into Dougie Feith) "ongoing"
- May 2006, Porter Goss resigns under allegations of ties to the Wilkes/Wade bribery ring
- May 2006, House Intelligence Committee (Peter Hoekstra's Committee) first moves to exercise oversight on CIFA
- August 2006, CIFA director and deputy director resign
You see, the DOJ went haywire on Carol Lam in May 2006. In addition to the Cunningham investigation expanding to include Porter Goss and Brent Wilkes and Dusty Foggo and Jerry Lewis at that time, the investigation had also just expanded to include MZM's CIFA contracts. Those same contracts in which MZM helped spy on people the Administration likely considered its enemies.
Again, it's all outamyarse at this point. But Monica Goodling sure seems like the kind of gal who would ensure that DOJ never busted the GOP's own private domestic spying program.