Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Little Fish Wants to Flip 

Roger Ailes, who is currently celebrating "lawsuit abuse week," reminds us of a forgotten scandal we were following back in the late Pleistocene but then, well, forgot. You may recall that Orrin Hatch and his fellow Republicans figured out how to access and then routinely pilfered, over the course of more than a year, thousands of confidential memos the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had stored on a central server. After extended procedural wrangling, Senate Sergeant at Arms Bill Pickle decided to turn the case over to the DoJ for prosecution -- and Mr. Ashcroft's crack team sought swift and certain justice against the puniest, most insignificant fall guy they could find:
Manuel Miranda asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop a Justice Department and Secret Service investigation into whether a crime was committed when he and another of Sen. Orrin Hatch's former employees got Democratic documents from a computer server shared by both sides. Miranda worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Hatch, R-Utah, is chairman.

Miranda said in papers filed Monday that the investigation was solely to hide senators' own wrongdoing.

"Senators used all their official power and their influence over the press to disguise their own wrongdoing, by systematically accusing plaintiff of escalating degrees of criminality," the pleading said.

At the same time, it said, "Other senators failed to defend the plaintiff, a loyal staff aide, and failed to address the apparent misconduct of their Senate colleagues, appearing more interested in avoiding criticism to themselves."

Named as defendants were Attorney General John Ashcroft and Ralph Basham, director of the Secret Service.
So here's a guy suing his Republican bosses for insufficient loyalty to an underling in a dirty-tricks operation. Ho-kayyyyy, li'l fella. But we do not mock him, dear reader, for there was a time when we were innocent as well; and reading his story makes us nostalgic for those days not so long ago, when we dared to imagine that at least one of the scandals that then seemed to be erupting on a daily basis might leave a bruise, if not a scar, on the administration's collective puss.

Hah. What saps we were!

Until (unless) the Democrats reclaim the White House or at least one house of Congress -- which would give them investigatory and subpoena powers -- do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

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