Is it now ‘Tricky
by PAT MURPHY
this: the late FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and the scandalous
boom-and-bust energy giant Enron both have something in common.
triumphant heroes in their own worlds — Hoover, to law enforcement and
tough-on-crime anti-communist politicians; Enron, to Wall Street.
name and Enron both are splattered with the muck of scandal and possible
criminal wrongdoing — and linked in separate congressional struggles to
get to the bottom of possible wrongdoing.
who’s doing his level best to prevent facts from being revealed? The
President of the United States, George W. Bush.
what’s going on.
instructed Attorney General John Ashcroft and Vice President Dick Cheney
to invoke "executive privilege" and refuse to cooperate with
Congress in investigating several decades of FBI corruption in its Boston
office and the possible wrongful Enron influence on Bush energy policies.
House limply claims that high-minded "principle" is at stake —
to open up FBI files and to share documents from Cheney’s closed-door
energy meetings that included Enron executives would cripple the executive
branch’s ability to seek confidential advice.
President Nixon attempted to use "executive privilege" in his
cover-up of Watergate, the Supreme Court rebuked him. Ditto for President
Clinton, when he tried to use the office of the president as an excuse to
evade investigations into perjured testimony in the Monica Lewinsky mess.
In the FBI
case, various government officials and a Massachusetts court already have
concluded that the FBI, presumably with director Hoover’s approval,
conspired with a hoodlum now on trial for 10 murders to keep an innocent
man, Joe Salvati, in prison for 30 years on the pretext of protecting
the Justice Department refuses demands of Republican Congressman Dan
Burton for files that would reveal abuses by the FBI Boston office — which once was manned by today’s FBI director, Robert Mueller, which may
be why the White House is stonewalling: to protect its FBI director from
an inquiry that could put his job at risk.
The same is
true of Cheney’s stonewalling: if Congress gets access to notes on
Cheney’s secret sessions with business executives, it might prove
political insider help to Enron in shaping public energy policy in
exchange for generous contributions to the Bush father-son political
House claim of "executive privilege" is a sham and no more noble
than Nixon’s attempt to hide criminal wrongdoing behind presidential
plans to sue the FBI for the documents in the Salvati case. And the
General Accounting Office (whose chief served in the Reagan and first Bush
administrations) plans to sue Cheney for papers connected with his secret
energy task force.
suits are filed, the spectacle of the supposedly squeaky clean Bush,
Cheney and Ashcroft fighting to conceal possible evidence of corrupt
behavior inside government will do noting to bolster presidential
privileges of confidentiality.
beneficiary of a cover up will be those who thrive on secrecy in
government to conceal blunders and repay political IOUs.