Gonzo: Don’t Blame Me For Torture — I Wasn’t At DOJ Yet

TPMmuckraker favorite Alberto Gonzales went on CNN this afternoon to talk Sotomayor.

But Wolf Blitzer also asked him about the ongoing torture debate. And it was interesting to see that Gonzo — who was White House counsel at the time the torture policies were first formulated — seemed eager to shift any blame onto the Justice Department he would later go on to lead.

Pressed by Blitzer about his role in approving torture, he first clarified that he wasn’t at the Justice Department at the key time, and said “It’s the responsibility of the Department of Justice to provide legal guidance on behalf of the executive branch.”

In other words: blame Ashcroft, Yoo, and Bybee.

Of course, it’s unclear how that stance lines up with a report that Gonzo, while at the White House, personally signed off on CIA requests to conduct torture.

Gonzo also assured Blitzer: “I stand by my record,” and “I did my best to defend our country.”