DOJ Reopens Warrantless Surveillance OPR Investigation:
This is interesting:
The Bush administration has apparently changed policy and cleared the way for the Justice Department to restart an investigation into the government's no-warrant electronic surveillance program, a department official told Congress on Tuesday.UPDATE: This March '07 National Journal report by Murray Waas may shed light on the story (hat tip: TPMMuckraker). Some excerpts:
The Justice Department said it will investigate the conduct of lawyers involved in the wiretapping program.
For months the White House had blocked granting the security clearances necessary for investigators in the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility to determine whether any department attorneys had engaged in unethical behavior.
. . . .
H. Marshall Jarrett, head of the Justice office, told members of Congress on Tuesday that the investigation will be reopened. But in his one-paragraph letter Jarrett sidestepped the issue of who in the Bush administration had reversed course.
Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews. . . .
Investigators from the Office of Professional Responsibility notified senior aides to Gonzales early last year that the first two people they intended to interview were Jack Goldsmith, who had been an assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, and James A. Baker, the counsel for Justice's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. Both men had raised questions about the propriety and legality of various aspects of the eavesdropping program, which was undertaken after September 11 as an anti-terrorism tool. . . .
A senior federal law enforcement official said that after OPR launched its inquiry in early 2006, Justice Department political appointees were concerned that the internal ethics office might conclude that Gonzales or other administration officials had sidestepped the law in the authorization and oversight of the program.