We noted yesterday that the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General issued a report on the found that former Attorney Gen. Alberto Gonzales had mishandled classified documents
during his time in office -- and that the DOJ had decided not to press charges.
But that doesn't seem to be half as bad as what CQ Politics
' Jeff Stein dug up -- fact checking Gonzales' testimony to investigators with . . . well, the report's own stipulated facts.
From CQ Politics' SpyTalk
But the IG report shows that Gonzales did more than "mishandle" his notes, which included operational details on what he himself, somewhat ironically, called -- after it had leaked -- "one of the most highly protected [programs] in the United States ... a very, very secretive, protected program," and correspondence between congressional Intelligence Committee leaders and CIA chief Gen. Michael Hayden.
In a statement that doesn't pass the laugh test, Gonzales told IG investigators he didn't know the documents were secret.
Gonzales said that he was unaware of the classification level and compartmented nature of the NSA program he referenced in the notes. Gonzales also stated he did not recall thinking that the notes themselves were classified.
But the IG found the smoking gun -- in Gonzales's hand, no less.
The envelope containing documents related to the NSA surveillance program bore the handwritten markings, "TOP SECRET - EYES ONLY - ARG" [the attorney general's initials] followed by an abbreviation for the SCI codeword for the program.
Inside the envelope, moreover, were "documents relating to a detainee interrogation program," which were all classified with cover sheets and markings in the top and bottom margins, as Top Secret/Sensitive Classified Information.