I noted the other day that Pat Leahy had sent a letter to Brad Schlozman asking for his overdue homework. What I didn't note in the post--but did in comments elsewhere--was the carbon copy line:
cc: The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
The Honorable Glen Fine
In comments where I mentioned this, I suggested this reflected a belief on Leahy's part that the Inspector General was a co-participant in his effort to hold real investigations into the Bush Administration (as to the cc for Gonzales? Dunno--but that was the day before Gonzales resigned).
That suggestion is born out by the letter Fine sent to Leahy today, reassuring Leahy (or, more importantly, signaling to others) that the direction of his investigation includes an assessment of whether Alberto Gonzales perjured himself on multiple occasions.
This is in response to your letter to me, dated August 16, 2007, in which you requested that the Off!.ceof the Inspector General (OIG) investigate testimony provided by Attorney General Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 24, 2007, and in previous hearings before the Judiciary Committee and other congressional committees. In particular, you identified five issues and asked that we investigate whether the statements made by the Attorney General were intentionally false, misleading, or inappropriate.
The OIG has ongoing investigations that relate to most of the subjects addressed by the Attomey General's testimony that you identified. In particular, the OIG is conducting a review relating to the terrorist surveillance program, as well as a follow-up revieW of the use of national security letters. In addition, the OIG is conducting a joint investigation with the Department's Office of Professional Responsibility into allegations regarding the removal of
certain United States Attomeys and improper hiring practices.
We believe that through those investigations and other OLA reviews we will be able to assess most of the issues that you raise in your letter.
Trust me. Pat Leahy has been working with Fine behind the scenes.
What else to make of the to-do about the OIG's jurisdiction a month ago? Leahy went to the trouble of identifying and--presumably--rectifying a problem in the jurisdiction of DOJ's internal investigation system. And now Leahy continues to CC Fine on his correspondence to thuggish DOJ employees (or, thankfully in the case of Schlozman, former employees)--as if Fine was fully read into Leahy's investigations.
A friend of the blog sent me this timely profile of Fine.
Few among us are paid to tell the boss that he has screwed up. Still fewer get to do it with the whole world watching, in a politically charged atmosphere, when what’s at stake is the rule of law, and even, sometimes, the Constitution.
As the Department of Justice’s inspector general, Glenn A. Fine ’85 does just that.
While Congress and the White House spar over allegations of executive overreaching and unauthorized action by the Justice Department, Fine’s job is to monitor how well the nation’s top law enforcement agencies—and his own superiors at Main Justice—comply with the law.
Fine is also playing a role in the department’s inquiry into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, amidst allegations that the dismissals were politically motivated and engineered by the White House.
There has been an inspector general monitoring the actions of the Justice Department and its various law-enforcement agencies since 1989. But, says Fine, Sept. 11 probably made the position more prominent: “The Patriot Act gave a function to the IG of receiving and reviewing complaints of civil liberties abuses. With the added powers given to the department, there’s been an increase in the responsibilities given the Office of the Inspector General, and we have tried to fulfill those responsibilities as aggressively and fairly as we can.”
“We strive to be independent,” Fine says. “We also strive to earn the reputation of being tough but fair.”
As I said elsewhere today, before Fine's letter was announced, I've got a lot more faith in Fine than in Scott Bloch (not least because Fine can make criminal referrals). But the more the merrier, I say, if they're investigating the Bush Administration.