Al Capone and Al Gonzalez

As the Washington Post reports today, the nation's chief law enforcement officer, our very own Alberto Gonzalez, has "retreated from public view this week" to rehearse his upcoming testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary committee about the US attorneys purge. They're planning three days of "rigorous mock testimony."

The first question, of course, is why do you have to rehearse if you intend to tell the truth? (The second question is, when they rehearse, who plays the role of Senator Orrin Hatch--a cocker spaniel?)

Sure he'll be asked detailed questions, but it's not like he can't refer to notes. So what's the problem?

Other than the discomfort of (maybe) having to acknowledge that he lied or was inexplicably unable to remember exactly how much he was involved in the purge as it was planned, he's got another hurdle.

He can't talk to his crew so they can get their stories straight ahead of time. From the WaPo story:

"Justice officials and outside experts said the effort is further hampered by legal conflicts among Gonzales and his senior aides. Top Democrats have also accused department officials of misleading Congress in previous testimony, leading Justice lawyers to insist on limiting contact between key players to avoid allegations of obstructing a congressional investigation, officials said."

It was put more plainly in the same article by former Senator Dan Coats, a Republican who helped prep Justice Alito (and, sadly, Harriet Miers) for their confirmation hearings.

"You don't have the ability to coordinate with other organizations or individuals that are going to be testifying, and there will be a lot of people looking for inconsistencies. It is no small challenge for the attorney general."

The icing on the cake is the presence of Timothy E. Flanigan as one of the guys who is prepping Gonzalez. Flanigan was a deputy White House counsel who left to become chief counsel at Tyco. When Tyco wanted to kill some unfavorable tax legislation Flanigan hired Jack Abramoff to lobby for them.

He was nominated to be a deputy attorney general by Bush in 2005 but withdrew his name when it became clear he'd have to talk about Abramoff.

Flanigan also helped Gonzalez write the book on the Bush administration's torture policy.

Gonzo should stop wasting his time--he's toast. And when he goes down, it won't be for helping the Bush administration shred our constitution and our moral standing around the world. It will be for an "overblown personnel matter," to use his own description.

You know, like Al Capone going to jail for tax fraud. Fitting, that.