Alberto Gonzales
80th United States Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales
Alberto R. Gonzales was the 80th, and the first Hispanic United States Attorney General, appointed in February 2005 by President George W. Bush, becoming the highest-ranking Hispanic in executive government to date. Prior to his elevation, he was the first Hispanic White House General Counsel, and earlier he had been Bush's General Counsel during his governorship of Texas.
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Alberto Gonzales's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Alberto Gonzales from around the web
Former Attorney General Calls Vetting Immigrants A 'Delicate Process'
NPR - 22 days
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served under the George W. Bush administration, talks about President Donald Trump putting chief strategist Steve Bannon on the National Security Council.
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NPR article
Glenn Beck Calls James Comey's Letter 'One Of The Most Irresponsible Things To Ever Happen'
Huffington Post - 4 months
The letter from FBI director James Comey to Congress last week announcing the possibility of new emails to examine in the Hillary Clinton case has done what once might have seemed impossible.  It has prompted conservatives to defend her.  The latest remonstration came from right-wing talk-show host and “The Blaze” founder Glenn Beck, who described Comey’s announcement as “one of the most irresponsible things to ever happen.” On Monday, Beck told listeners to his radio show that the move benefitted Donald Trump so much that it was “the greatest gift given to any candidate of all time in the history of America,” according to a clip posted online by Right Wing Watch.  “For him to go for the subpoena and announce it and open this thing up when he says he doesn’t know if there’s even anything in those emails, that’s not too big of a risk for him. That’s too big of a risk of anyone’s career,” Beck said. “And not his ― hers.” Beck added:  “Let’s say he b ...
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Huffington Post article
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Outlines Agency Relations Amid Email Probe
NPR - 4 months
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discusses the relationship between the FBI and the attorney general's office after the FBI director said the FBI would again look into Clinton's email server.
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NPR article
Alberto Gonzales on Clinton's use of a private email server
Fox News - 6 months
Former U.S. attorney general weighs in
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Fox News article
In New Memoir, Alberto Gonzales Defends 'War On Terror' Tactics
NPR - 6 months
In his memoir True Faith and Allegiance, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defends the legacy of the Bush administration ahead of the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11.
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NPR article
Should judge in Trump University case recuse himself?
Fox News - 9 months
Alberto Gonzales weighs in
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Fox News article
An American Citizen Apologizes to the Iraqi People
Huffington Post - over 1 year
"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight road was lost." - Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy Dear Iraqi people, I write to apologize for the illegal 2003 U.S. invasion of your country. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush has confessed, given what we know now, he would not have authorized the invasion of Iraq, as his brother did. A politician with integrity should have followed that comment with an apology to the Iraqi people. And to the American people. But, better not to open that Pandora's box, especially if you're running scared in the Republican primaries. Though it matters less now, many Americans opposed the assault -- including 23 U.S. Senators (among them current Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders) and 133 members of Congress. Speaking before our Senate, James Jeffords (VT), prophetically proclaimed, "this Administration is, perhaps unwittingly, heading us into a miserable cycle of waging wars that ...
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Huffington Post article
Alberto Gonzales reacts to terror arrests in Minnesota
Fox News - almost 2 years
Former AG on homegrown threat
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Fox News article
Ferguson and Selma: 'The march is not yet over'
CNN - almost 2 years
In Selma Pres. Obama invoked Ferguson and said "The march is not yet over." Alberto Gonzales and LZ Granderson on the Ferguson report and discrimination.
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CNN article
Is President Obama overstepping his authority?
Fox News - about 3 years
Alberto Gonzales sounds off
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Fox News article
Gonzales: Targeting Americans with drones OK
CNN - about 3 years
The Obama administration would be justified using drones to kill American terrorists abroad and at home, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told CNN on Tuesday.
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CNN article
Alberto Gonzales Appointed To Tennessee Courts Commission
Huffington Post - over 3 years
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is one of five new members on a panel that nominates candidates for Tennessee's appeals courts and its Supreme Court. Gonzales was appointed to the commission by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee. Gonzales holds the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law at Nashville's Belmont University, where he is a professor. He also works for the Nashville law firm of Waller, Lansden, Dortch and Davis. Gonzales became the nation's first Hispanic attorney general and held that post from 2005 to 2007 under President George W. Bush. He resigned after a controversy over the politically motivated firings of nine U.S. attorneys and amid an uproar over allegations of torture of terrorism suspects. Before serving as attorney general, Gonzales was Bush's White House legal counsel.
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Huffington Post article
Alberto Gonzales: Voting Rights Laws 'Have to Be Reasonable'
NPR - over 3 years
The U.S. Justice Department is coming after states like Texas for their voting laws. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to hear his thoughts. » E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us
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NPR article
Scott Titshaw: Immigration for Same-Sex Spouses in a Post-DOMA World
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The Supreme Court's much-anticipated decision in United States v. Windsor struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) provision that had rendered same-sex marriages invisible for federal purposes, including immigration. Without DOMA, the federal validity of same-sex marriages will depend on state law, but it is not always clear which state law applies after married couples cross state lines: What happens when a couple is married in Massachusetts but lives in Georgia? President Obama has expressed a policy preference for continuing to recognize such marriages for federal purposes, saying, "If you've been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you're still married, and ... under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple." But he admitted that taht may not be legally possible in all areas of federal law, and his administration is still analyzing that question in various contexts. Immigration may be the most ur ...
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Huffington Post article
Hayley Gorenberg: Carving LGBT Families Out of Immigration Protections: Wrong and Harmful
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The Supreme Court was unequivocal in its statement of the equality of married same-sex couples when it struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in its United States v. Windsor decision. Yet former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and law professor David Strange made a wholly unfounded argument to the contrary July 18, 2013, in The New York Times. Their attempt to carve LGBT families out of federal immigration protections is baseless and punitive. The Supreme Court's DOMA decision made clear that the federal government must apply the same rules to married same-sex couples as it does to married different-sex couples. The Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security took the appropriate steps to implement that ruling in the immigration context, spelling out that the immigration rules on marriage recognition work the same way for lawfully married same-sex couples. Specifically, this means that Citizen and Immigration Services will look ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Alberto Gonzales
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 60
    He was ranked one of "Newsmax's 50 Most Influential Latino Republicans" in 2016.
    More Details Hide Details Alberto Gonzales was born to a Catholic family in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in Humble, a town outside of Houston. Of Mexican descent, he was the second of eight children born to Maria (Rodriguez) and Pablo M. Gonzales. His father, who died in 1982, was a migrant worker and then a construction worker with a second grade education. His mother worked at home raising eight children and had a sixth grade education. Gonzales and his family of ten lived in a small, two-bedroom home built by his father and uncles with no telephone and no hot running water. According to Gonzales, he is unaware whether immigration documentation exists for three of his grandparents who were born in Mexico and who, like Gonzales and his family, were poor and uneducated and thus may have entered and resided in the United States illegally from Mexico or they may have entered and resided legally.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2011
    Age 55
    In October 2011, Belmont University College of Law announced that Gonzales would fill the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law.
    More Details Hide Details Gonzalez also joined the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis as Of Counsel.
  • 2009
    Age 53
    He began the new job on August 1, 2009.
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    In 2009, Texas Tech University System hired Gonzales.
    More Details Hide Details He acted as the diversity recruiter for both Texas Tech University and Angelo State University. Additionally, at Texas Tech, he taught a political science "special topics" course dealing with contemporary issues in the executive branch, and a graduate level course to students pursuing a master's degree in public administration.
    In August 2009, White House documents released showed that Rove raised concerns directly with Gonzales and that Domenici or an intermediary may have contacted the Justice Department as early as 2005 to complain.
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    According to the July 10, 2009 DOJ Inspector General Unclassified Report on the President's Surveillance Program, Gonzales did not intend to mislead Congress. There was no finding of perjury or other criminal wrongdoing by Gonzales On Wednesday, June 27, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the United States Department of Justice, the White House, and Vice President Dick Cheney seeking internal documents regarding the program's legality and details of the NSA's cooperative agreements with private telecommunications corporations.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to the subpoenas, committee chairman Patrick Leahy sent Gonzales a letter about possible false statements made under oath by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings before the committee the previous year. In an August 17, 2007 reply letter to Leahy asking for an extension of the August 20 deadline for compliance, White House counsel Fred Fielding argued that the subpoenas called for the production of "extraordinarily sensitive national security information," and he said much of the information—if not all—could be subject to a claim of executive privilege. On August 20, 2007, Fielding wrote to Leahy that the White House needed yet more time to respond to the subpoenas, which prompted Leahy to reply that the Senate may consider a contempt of Congress citation when it returns from its August recess.
    These memoranda have been the focus of considerable controversy, and were repudiated by President Barack Obama in early 2009.
    More Details Hide Details In a December 2005 article in The New York Times, it was revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without warrants in cases where (i) NSA intelligence agents had reason to believe at least one party to the call was a member of al Qaeda or a group affiliated with al Qaeda, and (ii) the call was international. The New York Times acknowledged that the activities had been classified, and that it had disclosed the activities over the Administration's objections. As such, Attorney General Gonzales threatened The Times with prosecution under the Espionage Act of 1917, since knowing publication of classified information is a federal crime. Gonzales raised the possibility that New York Times journalists could be prosecuted for publishing classified information based on the outcome of the criminal investigation underway into leaks to the Times of data about the National Security Agency's surveillance of terrorist-related calls between the United States and abroad. He said, "I understand very much the role that the press plays in our society, the protection under the First Amendment we want to protect and respect." As for the Times, he said, "As we do in every case, it's a case-by-case evaluation about what the evidence shows us, our interpretation of the law. We have an obligation to enforce the law and to prosecute those who engage in criminal activity."
    On March 28, 2009, a Spanish court, headed by Baltasar Garzón, the judge who ordered the arrest of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet, announced it would begin an investigation into whether or not Gonzales, and five other former Bush Justice and Defense officials violated international law by providing the Bush Administration a legal framework and basis for the torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
    More Details Hide Details Garzón said that it was "highly probable" the matter would go to court and that arrest warrants would be issued. Also named in the Spanish court's investigation are John Yoo, Douglas Feith, William Haynes II, Jay Bybee, and David Addington. In April 2010, on the advice of the Spanish Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido, who believes that an American tribunal should judge the case (or dismiss it) before a Spanish Court ever thinks about becoming involved, prosecutors recommended that Judge Garzon should drop his investigation. As CNN reported, Mr. Conde-Pumpido told reporters that Judge Garzon's plan threatened to turn the court "into a toy in the hands of people who are trying to do a political action". This is a list of opinions in which Alberto Gonzales wrote the majority court opinion, wrote a concurring opinion, or wrote a dissent. Cases in which he joined in an opinion written by another justice are not included. A justice "writes" an opinion if the justice has primary responsibility for the opinion. Justices are assisted by a law clerk who may play an important role in the actual analysis of legal issues and drafting of the opinion. The Texas Supreme Court issued 84 opinions during Gonzales's tenure on the court, according to LexisNexis.
    On January 21, 2009 (his first day in office), President Barack Obama revoked Executive Order 13233 by issuing, with wording largely matching Reagan's Executive Order 12667.
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  • 2008
    Age 52
    Gonzales gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal on December 31, 2008, in which he discussed the effect that controversies in his Bush Administration roles had had on his career and public perception.
    More Details Hide Details He stated: For some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror. Since leaving public office he has appeared on a number of television and radio news shows, including The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, to discuss the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, Larry King Live to discuss the challenges of immigration, and Geraldo at Large to discuss terrorism related issues. He has given numerous radio interviews on shows such as NPR's Tell Me More, covering such topics as Guantanamo Bay and Supreme Court nominations. Additionally, he has written opinion pieces for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, covering issues ranging from immigration to sexual predators. He stated an intention to write a book about his roles, with the intention of publishing the book "for my sons, so at least they know the story." No publishing company had agreed to promote the book at the time of the interview.
    On September 2, 2008, the Inspector General found that Gonzales had stored classified documents in an insecure fashion, at his home and insufficiently secure safes at work.
    More Details Hide Details The Inspector General investigation found no evidence showing that there was any unauthorized disclosure of classified information resulting from his mishandling and storage of the materials in question, and the IG did not make a referral to the National Security Division for violation of a criminal statute. Some members of Congress criticized Gonzales for selectively declassifying some of this information for political purposes. The Justice Department declined to press criminal charges. because there was no evidence of intent and no referral by the IG of criminal wrongdoing.
    In April 2008, The New York Times reported that Gonzales was having difficulty securing a new job, unusual for a former Attorney General.
    More Details Hide Details Gonzales had a mediation and consulting practice in Austin, TX and taught at Texas Tech.
    The district attorney left office after losing in a Democratic primary in March 2008.
    More Details Hide Details All charges were dropped after further investigation.
    Gonzales was featured in the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side.
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  • 2007
    Age 51
    In the September 9, 2007 issue of The New York Times Magazine Jeffrey Rosen reports on an extended interview he had with Goldsmith, who was also in the hospital room that night.
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    Gonzales was then able to explain publicly, on August 1, 2007, that while TSP "was an extraordinary activity that presented novel and difficult issues and was, as understood, the subject of intense deliberations within the Department," the aspect of Mr. Comey's advise that prompted the Gang of Eight meeting on March 10, 2004, was not about TSP, but was about another or other aspects of the intelligence activities in question, which activities remain classified.
    More Details Hide Details Comey himself acknowledged that the nature of the disagreement at issue on March 10, 2004, is "a very complicated matter", but he declined to discuss in a public setting. Professor Jack Goldsmith appears to acknowledge that there is a difference between TSP and other classified intelligence activities that prompted the March 10, 2004 Gang of Eight meeting and visit to General Ashcroft's hospital room. Gonzales has had a long relationship with former president George W. Bush. Gonzales served as a general counsel when Bush was the governor of Texas. Such relationship made critics question whether he would maintain independence in his administration of the U.S. Department of Justice. Gonzales has been called Bush's "yes man." Even though the advice given by Gonzales was based and supported by other lawyers, specifically the Department of Justice, charged by statute to provide legal advice to the President, Critics claim that he gave only the legal advice Bush wanted and questioned Gonzales's ethics and professional conduct. "To his backers, Gonzales is a quiet, hardworking attorney general notable for his open management style and his commitment to the administration of justice and to the war on terrorism.
    The DOJ Inspector General recognized that Gonzales was in the difficult position of testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a highly classified program in an open forum On July 31, 2007, Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell confirmed, in a letter to Senator Specter, that the activities publicly referred to "as the TSP did not exhaust the activities subject to periodic authorization by the President.
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    On Tuesday, August 28, 2007—one day after Gonzales announced his resignation as Attorney General effective September 17—Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy indicated that it would not affect ongoing investigations by his committee. "I intend to get answers to these questions no matter how long it takes," Leahy said, suggesting that Gonzales could face subpoenas from the committee for testimony or evidence long after leaving the administration. "You'll notice that we've had people subpoenaed even though they've resigned from the White House," Leahy said, referring to Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and Karl Rove, who resigned in August 2007 as the president's top political aide. "They're still under subpoena.
    More Details Hide Details They still face contempt if they don't appear." Gonzales testified voluntarily to Congress and provided interviews to the Inspector General on numerous occasions. He ordered full cooperation by all Department of Justice employees with ongoing investigations. On Thursday, August 30, 2007, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine disclosed in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that as part of a previously ongoing investigation, his office is looking into whether Gonzales made statements to Congress that were "intentionally false, misleading, or inappropriate," both about the firing of federal prosecutors and about the terrorist-surveillance program, as committee chairman Patrick Leahy had asked him to do in an August 16, 2007 letter. Fine's letter to Leahy said that his office "has ongoing investigations that relate to most of the subjects addressed by the attorney general's testimony that you identified." Fine said that his office is conducting a particular review "relating to the terrorist-surveillance program, as well as a follow-up review of the use of national security letters," which investigators use to obtain information on e-mail messages, telephone calls and other records from private companies without court approval. Fine concluded his investigation and found that Gonzales did not intend to mislead Congress.
    Indeed, prior to the 2007 letter, Gonzales provided the same definition of TSP in several public appearances leading up to a hearing in Congress on February 6, 2006.
    More Details Hide Details In March 2004, the TSP operations, (code-named Stellar Wind) became the focal point for a dispute between the White House and then-acting-Attorney-General James B. Comey, resulting in a dramatic, late-night meeting between Gonzales, Comey, the bedridden AG John Ashcroft, and other DOJ officials, in a George Washington University Hospital room. According to initial statements by Gonzales, the disagreement was not over TSP; rather, he claimed it concerned other classified intelligence activities which fell under the PSP, which had not been disclosed. However, Comey contended that the incident, (which had culminated in a heated phone conversation following the hospital visit) had indeed been over the activities comprising the TSP. Through a spokesperson, Gonzales later denied his original assertion that the dispute was over TSP, claiming that he had misspoken. The controversy over these conflicting statements led Senator Charles Schumer to request appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate if Gonzales had committed perjury.
    In a letter to the Senate dated August 1, 2007, Gonzales disclosed that shortly after the September 11 attacks, the President authorized the NSA, under a single Presidential Authorization, to engage in a number of intelligence activities, which would later be collectively described as the "President's Surveillance Program" (PSP) by the DOJ Inspector General, Glenn A. Fine. Some of these authorized activities were described as the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (TSP) by President Bush, in an address to the nation on December 16, 2005.
    More Details Hide Details As the August 1 letter indicates the dispute between the President and James Comey that led to the hospital visit was not over TSP, it concerned other classified intelligence activities that are part of PSP and have not been disclosed. He defended his authorization of the program, asserting " if you are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know why." In his letter, Gonzales wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee that he defined TSP as the program the President publicly confirmed, a program that targets communications where one party is outside the United States, and as to which the government had reason to believe at least one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda or an affiliated terrorist organization.
    Following partisan calls for his removal, Gonzales resigned from the office "in the best interests of the department," on August 27, 2007, effective September 17, 2007.
    More Details Hide Details Democrats were particularly opposed to Gonzales presiding over the firings of several U.S. Attorneys who had refused back-channeled White House directives to prosecute political enemies — allegedly causing the office of Attorney General to become improperly politicized. In 2008, Gonzales began a mediation and consulting practice. Additionally, he taught a political science course and served as a diversity recruiter at Texas Tech University. Gonzales is currently the Dean of Belmont University College of Law, in Nashville, Tennessee, where he currently teaches Constitutional Law, Separation of Powers, National Security Law and First Amendment Law. He is also counsel at a Nashville-based law firm, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, where he advises clients on special matters, government investigations and regulatory matters. He often writes opinion pieces for national newspapers and appears on national news programs.
    On July 27, 2007, both White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and White House spokeswoman Dana Perino defended Gonzales's Senate Judiciary Committee testimony regarding the events of March 10, 2004, saying that it did not contradict the sworn House Judiciary Committee account of FBI director Robert S. Mueller III, because Gonzales had been constrained in what he could say because there was a danger he would divulge classified material.
    More Details Hide Details Lee Casey, a former Justice Department lawyer during the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, told The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that it is likely that the apparent discrepancy can be traced to the fact that there are two separate Domestic Surveillance programs. "The program that was leaked in December 2005 is the Comey program. It is not the program that was discussed in the evening when they went to Attorney General Ashcroft's hospital room. That program we know almost nothing about. We can speculate about it. …The program about which he said there was no dispute is a program that was created after the original program died, when Mr. Comey refused to reauthorize it, in March 2004. Mr. Comey then essentially redid the program to suit his legal concerns. And about that program, there was no dispute. There was clearly a dispute about the earlier form or version of the program. The attorney general has not talked about that program. He refers to it as "other intelligence activities" because it is, in fact, still classified."
    On July 26, 2007, the Associated Press obtained a four-page memorandum from the office of former Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte dated May 17, 2006, which appeared to contradict Gonzales's testimony the previous day regarding the subject of a March 10, 2004 emergency Congressional briefing which preceded his hospital room meeting with former Attorney General John Ashcroft, James B. Comey and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr..
    More Details Hide Details However, there is no contradiction as the July 1, 2009 IG report confirms. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, the President authorized a number of intelligence activities reported by the IG on the President's Surveillance Program (PSP). One set of activities were TSP, but the dispute was about certain of the Other Intelligence Activities. The IG report is clear on p. 37 that the TSP "was not the subject of the hospital room confrontation or the threatened resignations." P. 36 of the Inspector General report goes on to say that the White House had a major disagreement related to PSP. The dispute which resulted in the visit to Attorney General Ashcroft's hospital room by Gonzales and Card and brought several senior DOJ and FBI officials to the brink of resignation-concerned certain of the Other Intelligence Activities that were different from the communications interception activities that the President later publicly acknowledged as the TSP, but that had been implemented through the same President Authorizations.
    On July 24, 2007, Gonzales testified that he and Card were also concerned about Ashcroft's competency. "Obviously there was concern about General Ashcroft's condition.
    More Details Hide Details And we would not have sought nor did we intend to get any approval from General Ashcroft if in fact he wasn't fully competent to make the decision." In response to a question from Senator Hatch, Gonzales continued, "Obviously we were concerned about the condition of General Ashcroft. We obviously knew he had been ill and had surgery. And we never had any intent to ask anything of him if we did not feel that he was competent. When we got there, I will just say that Mr. Ashcroft did most of the talking. We were there maybe five minutes – five to six minutes. Mr. Ashcroft talked about the legal issues in a lucid form, as I've heard him talk about legal issues in the White House. During the July 24 hearing, Gonzales' testimony lasted for almost four hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He appeared to contradict the earlier statements made by James Comey regarding the hospital room meeting with John Ashcroft.
    A number of members of both houses of Congress publicly said Gonzales should resign, or be fired by Bush. Calls for his ousting intensified after his testimony on April 19, 2007.
    More Details Hide Details But the President gave Gonzales a strong vote of confidence saying, "This is an honest, honorable man, in whom I have confidence." The President said that Gonzales's testimony "increased my confidence" in his ability to lead the Justice Department. Separately, a White House spokeswoman said, "He's staying". On May 24, 2007, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced the Democrats' proposed no-confidence resolution to vote on whether "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and the American People." (The vote would have had no legal effect, but was designed to persuade Gonzales to depart or President Bush to seek a new attorney general.) A similar resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).
    On January 18, 2007, Gonzales was invited to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he shocked the committee's ranking member, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, with statements regarding the right of habeas corpus in the United States Constitution.
    More Details Hide Details An excerpt of the exchange follows: GONZALES: The fact that the Constitution—again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it's never been the case, and I'm not a Supreme— SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion? GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn't say, "Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas." It doesn't say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by — Full transcript and video) Senator Specter was referring to 2nd Clause of Section 9 of Article One of the Constitution of the United States which reads: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." This passage has been historically interpreted to mean that the right of habeas corpus is inherently established. Gonzales dissents from the consensus view, siding with Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, who said "athough the Constitution prohibits Congress from suspending the writ of habeas corpus except during times of rebellion or invasion, this provision was probably meant to keep Congress from suspending the writ and preventing state courts from releasing individuals who were wrongfully imprisoned.
    Gonzales acknowledged in his testimony in April 19, 2007 that he should have been more involved in the process.
    More Details Hide Details He acknowledged this well before the Inspector General reached this conclusion. He said in his congressional testimony that he should have been more precise in his press conference statements about the firings well before the Inspector General reached this conclusion. Gonzales clarified misstatements made at the March 13 press conference in subsequent interviews. Gonzales asked the Office of Professional Responsibility to examine the records and supported the involvement of the Inspector General. He directed full cooperation with all investigations by DOJ employees and agreed to release thousands of pages of internal DOJ documents. The Inspector General found no intentional or criminal wrongdoing by Gonzales.
    In contrast, Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007: "I don't recall...
    More Details Hide Details Senator Domenici ever requesting that Mr. Iglesias be removed." In July 2010, Department of Justice prosecutors closed the two-year investigation without filing charges after determining that the firings were not criminal, saying "Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias. The investigative team also determined that the evidence did not warrant expanding the scope of the investigation beyond the removal of Iglesias." The conclusion of the investigation caused one commentator to note, "a career Justice Department prosecutor not beholden to any administration shows us that the witch hunt against Albert Gonzales was a politically motivated sham." As the Wall Street Journal noted, when referring to Iglesias, "we'll note that his successor in New Mexico, who was appointed by a panel of judges and not by President Bush, picked up the pace considerably in prosecuting and winning convictions in political corruption cases. The contrast bears out the criticism at the time that Iglesias has mismanaged his office."
    On November 15, 2007, The Washington Post reported that supporters of Gonzales had created a trust fund to help pay for his legal expenses, which were mounting as the Justice Department Inspector General's office continued to investigate whether Gonzales committed perjury or improperly tampered with a congressional witness.
    More Details Hide Details The Inspector General determined that Gonzales did not commit perjury or improperly tamper with a congressional witness.
    Soon after departure from the DOJ in September 2007, continuing inquiries by Congress and the Justice Department led Gonzales to hire a criminal-defense lawyer George J. Terwilliger III, partner at White & Case, and former deputy attorney general under former president George H. W. Bush. Terwiliger was on the Republican law team involved in Florida presidential election recount battle of 2000.
    More Details Hide Details On October 19, 2007, John McKay, the former U.S. Attorney for Washington's Western District, told The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review that Inspector General Glenn A. Fine may recommend criminal charges against Gonzales. The Inspector General did not recommend criminal charges against Gonzales. To the contrary, the Inspector General found no criminal wrongdoing and no perjury.
    Bush also announced a revised appointment for acting Attorney General: Paul Clement served for 24 hours and returned to his position as Solicitor General; the departing Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division, Peter Keisler was persuaded to stay on, and was appointed acting Attorney General effective September 18, 2007.
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    On September 17, 2007, President Bush announced the nomination of ex-Judge Michael B. Mukasey to serve as Gonzales's successor.
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    On August 26, 2007, Gonzales submitted his resignation as Attorney General with an effective date of September 17, 2007.
    More Details Hide Details In a statement on August 27, Gonzales thanked the President for the opportunity to be of service to his country, giving no indication of either the reasons for his resignation or his future plans. Later that day, President Bush praised Gonzales for his service, reciting the numerous positions in Texas government, and later, the government of the United States, to which Bush had appointed Gonzales. Bush attributed the resignation to Gonzales's name having been "dragged through the mud" for "political reasons". Senators Schumer (D-NY), Feinstein (D-CA), and Specter (R-PA) replied that the resignation was entirely attributable to the excessive politicization of the Attorney General's office by Gonzales, whose credibility with Congress, they asserted, was nonexistent.
    The Latino Coalition issued a press statement in March 2007 announcing their continued and unwavering support of Alberto Gonzales saying, "we strongly oppose what is nothing but patently political calls for the resignation of Alberto Gonzales.
    More Details Hide Details He has been, and continues to be, a leading example to all in the Hispanic community of what we can accomplish through hard work and by keeping true to our dreams." The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association wrote expressing support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, "Attorney General Gonzales is a man held in high regard by the men and women of Federal law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to keep our nation safe. He is a strong law enforcement leader who is willing to listen to those of us out on the street every day serving and protection our nation. Mr. President, I urge you to convince Attorney General Gonzales to remain in his current position as our nation's chief law enforcement officer. Our nation and the men and women who carry the badge and the gun need his leadership."
    The Bush Administration and Attorney General Gonzales believed that OPR did not have the authority to investigate Gonzales' role as White House Counsel in connection with certain intelligence activities authorized by the President. In response to suggestions that Gonzales blocked the investigation or that the President blocked the investigation to protect Gonzales, Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling informed Chairman John Conyers on March 22, 2007, that "the President made the decision not to grant the requested security clearances to" OPR staff.
    More Details Hide Details Judge Gonzales "was not told he was the subject or target of the OPR investigation, nor did he believe himself to be…" Judge Gonzales "did not ask the President to shut down or otherwise impede the OPR investigation". Judge Gonzales "recommended to the President that OPR be granted security clearance."
    Further, in his written statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, presented April 19, 2007, Gonzales wrote: "I misspoke at a press conference on March 13th when I said that I "was not involved in any discussions about what was going on."
    More Details Hide Details That statement was too broad. At that same press conference, I made clear that I was aware of the process; I said, "I knew my Chief of Staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers, where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that's what I knew". Of course, I knew about the process because of, at a minimum, these discussions with Mr. Sampson. Thus, my statement about "discussions" was imprecise and overboard, but it certainly was not in any way an attempt to mislead the American people."
    Gonzales testified 18 months before the IG reports that statements he made at the March 13, 2007 press conference were misstatements and were overboard.
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    He acknowledged from the outset his misstatements, accepted responsibility, and attempted to set the record straight well before congressional testimony on April 19, 2007.
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    The IG report did find that some statements made by Gonzales at a March 13, 2007 press conference about his involvement were inaccurate.
    More Details Hide Details The report however does not conclude that Gonzales deliberately provided false information.
    Gonzales is considered a key architect in establishing the legal foundations for the war on terror. His service as White House Counsel and as Attorney General in the fight on terrorism was recognized by the Director of the CIA in 2007 with a Directors Award, that includes a citation that reads: "During a period of tremendous tumult and change brought on by an unparalleled series of terrorist attacks and continuing threats against the American people, he Gonzales has provided unstinting support and wise counsel to many elements of the Community in their conduct of a critical and unprecedented range of operational activities that saved countless lives and protected the nation from further attacks.
    More Details Hide Details He performed his role with exemplary skill, dedication, and humor, all the while ensuring that the Community could carry out its vital mission in a manner faithful to the country's laws and values. For his service, Judge Gonzales has earned the lasting gratitude and respect of U.S. intelligence officers everywhere, reflecting great credit upon himself and the Federal Service. After consulting with lawyers from throughout the Administration, including the Department of Justice which is charged by law to provide legal advice to the Executive Branch, Gonzales helped draft a controversial memo in January 2002 that explored whether the Geneva Convention section III on the Treatment of Prisoners of War (GPW) applied to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan and held in detention facilities around the world, including Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The memo made several arguments both for and against providing GPW protection to Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The memo concluded that certain provisions of GPW were outdated and ill-suited for dealing with captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
    In 2007, as he left government service, he was honored with the Director's Award from the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
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  • 2006
    Age 50
    On November 14, 2006, invoking universal jurisdiction, legal proceedings were started in Germany against Gonzales for his alleged involvement under the command responsibility of prisoner abuse by writing the controversial legal opinions.
    More Details Hide Details On April 27, 2007, Germany's Federal Prosecutor announced she would not proceed with an investigation. In November 2007, the plaintiffs appealed the decision. On April 21, 2009, the Stuttgart Regional Appeals Court dismissed the appeal.
    His responses frustrated the Democrats on the committee, as well as several Republicans. One example of such frustration came in an exchange between Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Gonzales regarding a November 2006 meeting.
    More Details Hide Details Sessions is one of the most conservative members of the Senate, and was one of the Bush Administration's staunchest allies. At the meeting, the attorney firings were purportedly discussed, but Gonzales did not remember such discussion. As reported by the Washington Post, the dialogue went as follows: GONZALES: Well, Senator, putting aside the issue, of course, sometimes people's recollections are different, I have no reason to doubt Mr. Battle's testimony the November meeting. SESSIONS: Well, I guess I'm concerned about your recollection, really, because it's not that long ago. It was an important issue. And that's troubling to me, I've got to tell you. GONZALES: Senator, I went back and looked at my calendar for that week. I traveled to Mexico for the inauguration of the new president. We had National Meth Awareness Day. We were working on a very complicated issue relating to CFIUS.
    One more, Bud Cummins, who had been informed of his dismissal in June 2006, announced his resignation on December 15, 2006 effective December 20, 2006 upon being notified of Tim Griffin's appointment as interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
    More Details Hide Details In the subsequent congressional hearings and press reports, it was disclosed that additional U.S. attorneys were dismissed without explanation to the dismissee in 2005 and 2006, and that at least 26 U.S. attorneys were at various times considered for dismissal. Although U.S. attorneys can be dismissed at the discretion of the president, critics claimed that the dismissals were either motivated by desire to install attorneys more loyal to the Republican party ("loyal Bushies," in the words of Kyle Sampson, Gonzales's former chief of staff) or as retribution for actions or inactions damaging to the Republican party. At least six of the eight had received positive performance reviews at the Department of Justice. However, DOJ officials Will Moschella and Monica Goodling both testified under oath that EARS evaluations are office-wide reviews, they are not reviews of the U.S. Attorneys themselves Gonzales testified under oath that EARS evaluations do not necessarily reflect on the U.S. Attorney. In other words, these reviews were not evaluations of the performance of the fired federal prosecutors.
    While born in San Antonio, Gonzales is considered a native son of Houston. On May 20, 2006, Houston Mayor Bill White proclaimed "Alberto R. Gonzales Day" in Houston for his contributions to the betterment of the City of Houston.
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  • FORTIES
  • 2005
    Age 49
    Gonzales reportedly approved the a second May 10, 2005 classified legal memorandum on "combined effects" over the policy objections of James B. Comey, the outgoing deputy attorney general, who told colleagues at the Justice Department that they would all be "ashamed" when the world eventually learned of it.
    More Details Hide Details Patrick Leahy and John Conyers, chairmen of the respective Senate and House Judiciary Committees, requested that the Justice Department turn over documents related to the classified 2005 legal opinions to their committees for review. Gonzales also helped draft the Presidential Order which authorized the use of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects. The order was approved as to legality by lawyers at the Department of Justice. The order directs that the accused will receive a full and fair trial, and persons charged will be entitled to be represented by competent counsel. The order was written to duplicate the military order issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and found to be constitutional for use against Nazi saboteurs by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Exparte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, 30 (1942). The use of military commissions has been found to be so vital to our national security in the war on terror that their use have been approved and codified twice by Congress. (In 2009, The Obama administration stated it would abide by the Geneva Convention and described some of the enhanced interrogation techniques established under Attorney General Gonzalez' tenure as torture. On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order requiring the CIA to use only the 19 interrogation methods outlined in the United States Army Field Manual on interrogations "unless the Attorney General with appropriate consultation provides further guidance.")
    When Gonzales became Attorney General in 2005, he ordered a performance review of all U.S. Attorneys On December 7, 2006, seven United States attorneys were notified by the United States Department of Justice that they were being dismissed, after the George W. Bush administration sought their resignation.
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    On October 27, 2005, Miers withdrew her nomination, again renewing speculation about a possible Gonzales nomination.
    More Details Hide Details This was laid to rest when Judge Samuel Alito received the nomination and subsequent confirmation. On September 11, 2005, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter was quoted as saying that it was "a little too soon" after Gonzales's appointment as Attorney General for him to be appointed to another position, and that such an appointment would require a new series of confirmation hearings. "He Gonzales is attacked a lot," observes Larry Sabato, a political analyst and the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, who adds that the serious political spats "virtually eliminated him from the Supreme Court chase." Gonzales has been recognized for his work in the fight against terrorism and his fight against sexual predators. His leadership on behalf of children has been widely noted; Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, described Attorney General Gonzales' example in raising this issue to prominence as a "clear profile in courage". President Bush, in accepting Gonzales' resignation as Attorney General, said, "Al Gonzales has played a role in shaping our policies in the war on terror, and has worked tirelessly to make this country safer. The PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act and other important laws bear his imprint. Under his leadership, the Justice Department has made a priority of protecting children from internet predators, and made enforcement of civil rights law a top priority.
    After the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist on September 3, 2005, creating another vacancy, speculation resumed that President George W. Bush might nominate Gonzales to the Court.
    More Details Hide Details This again proved to be incorrect, as Bush decided to nominate Roberts to the Chief Justice position, and on October 3, 2005, nominated Harriet Miers as Associate Justice, to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
    Political commentators had suggested that Bush forecast the selection of Gonzales with his comments defending the Attorney General made on July 6, 2005, in Copenhagen, Denmark.
    More Details Hide Details Bush stated, "I don't like it when a friend gets criticized. I'm loyal to my friends. All of a sudden this fellow, who is a good public servant and a really fine person, is under fire. And so, do I like it? No, I don't like it, at all." However, this speculation proved to be incorrect, as Bush nominated D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court.
    He was sworn in on February 3, 2005.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly before the July 1, 2005 retirement announcement of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sandra Day O'Connor, rumors started circulating that a memo had leaked from the White House stating that upon the retirement of either O'Connor or Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist, that Gonzales would be the first nominee for a vacancy on the Court. Quickly, conservative stalwarts such as National Review magazine and Focus on the Family, among other socially conservative groups, stated they would oppose a Gonzales nomination. Much of their opposition to Gonzales was based on his perceived support of abortion rights as a result of one vote on a single case before the Texas Supreme Court, In re Jane Doe 5 (43 Tex. Sup. J.910). In a series of cases before the Texas Supreme Court in 2000, the court was asked to construe for the first time the 1999 Texas parental notification law forbidding a physician from performing an abortion on a pregnant, unaccompanied minor without giving notice to the minor's parents at least 48 hours before the procedure. However, Texas legislators adopted a policy to create a judicial bypass exception in those cases where (1) the minor is mature and sufficiently well informed to make the decision to have an abortion performed without notification to either of her parents; (2) notification will not be in the best interest of the minor or (3) notification may lead to physical, sexual or emotional abuse of the minor.
    And luckily for his country, he is not quite finished climbing yet.'" The nomination was approved on February 3, 2005, with the confirming vote largely split along party lines 60–36 (54 Republicans and 6 Democrats in favor, and 36 Democrats against, along with 4 abstentions: 3 Democrat and 1 Republican).
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    Gonzales was inducted into the Class of 2005 in the Academy of Achievement.
    More Details Hide Details Gonzales received the Distinguished Leadership Award in 2006 from Leadership Houston.
    As the son of former migrant workers, many recognized Gonzales' appointment as Attorney General of the United States as the embodiment of the American dream. His work in the Hispanic community and his achievements as a role model earned him recognition as Hispanic American of the Year by HISPANIC Magazine in 2005 and one of The 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America by TIME Magazine.
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    In 2005, he was honored with the Hector Barreto, Sr. Award by the Latino Coalition and with a President's Award by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
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  • 2004
    Age 48
    Gonzales fought with Congress to keep Vice President Dick Cheney's Energy task force documents from being reviewed, and his arguments were ultimately upheld by courts. On July 2, 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Vice President, but remanded the case back to the D.C. Circuit. On May 11, 2005, the D.C. Circuit threw out the lawsuit and ruled the Vice President was free to meet in private with energy industry representatives in 2001 while drawing up the President's energy policy.
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    Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, corroborates many of the details of Comey's Senate testimony regarding the March 10, 2004 hospital room visit, in a preview of his book "The Terror Presidency" which was to be published in Fall 2007.
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    In 2004, Gonzales was honored with the Exemplary Leader Award by the Houston American Leadership Forum.
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  • 2003
    Age 47
    In 2003, Gonzales also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Travis County, Texas Republican Party.
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    Additionally, in 2003, he received the Gary L. McPherson Distinguished Alumni Award from the American Council of Young Political Leaders; the Chairman's Leadership Award from the Texas Association of Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, the Truinfador Award from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Hispanic Hero Award from the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans and the Good Neighbor Award from the United States-Mexican Chamber of Commerce for his dedication and leadership in promoting a civil society and equal opportunity.
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    He received President's Awards in 2003 from both the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
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  • 2002
    Age 46
    In response, the Justice Department issued a classified August 1, 2002 memo to the CIA from Jay Bybee, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, and an August 1, 2002 legal opinion to Gonzales from Jay Bybee defining torture as an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.
    More Details Hide Details Journalists including Jane Mayer, Joby Warrick and Peter Finn, and Alex Koppelman have reported the CIA was already using these harsh tactics before the memo authorizing their use was written, and that it was used to provide after-the-fact legal support for harsh interrogation techniques. A Department of Justice 2009 report regarding prisoner abuses reportedly stated the memos were prepared one month after Abu Zubaydah had already been subjected to the specific techniques authorized in the August 1, 2002, memo. John Kiriakou stated in July 2009 that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded in the early summer of 2002, months before the August 1, 2002 memo was written. The memo described ten techniques which the interrogators wanted to use: "(1) attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap (insult slap), (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) insects placed in a confinement box, and (10) the waterboard." Many of the techniques were, until then, generally considered illegal. Many other techniques developed by the CIA were held to constitute inhumane and degrading treatment and torture under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As reported later, many of these interrogation techniques were previously considered illegal under U.S. and international law and treaties at the time of Abu Zubaydah's capture.
    Gonzalez oversaw President Bush's Office of Legal Counsel on August 1, 2002, at which time the OLC produced the Bybee memo, a document that provided the legal framework by which previous interpretations of the Geneva Convention and the United Nations Convention Against Torture were modified to expand Presidential authority to enable so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques".
    More Details Hide Details The memo was produced in response to a specific CIA request for clarification of the standards of interrogation under U.S. law, in the specific case of Abu Zabaydah, a man believed at the time to be a high-level Al-Qaeda leader.
    Attorney General John Ashcroft made a similar argument on behalf of the Justice Department by letter to the President dated February 1, 2002, when he wrote that a presidential determination "against treaty application would provide the highest assurance that no court would subsequently entertain charges that American military officers, intelligence officials or law enforcement officials violated Geneva Convention rules relating to field conduct, detention conduct or interrogation of detainees.
    More Details Hide Details The War Crimes Act of 1996 makes violations of parts of the Geneva Convention a crime in the United States." Shortly after September 26, 2002, a Gulfstream government jet carrying David Addington, Gonzales, John A. Rizzo, William Haynes II, two Justice Department lawyers, Alice S. Fisher and Patrick F. Philbin, and the Office of Legal Counsel's Jack Goldsmith flew to Camp Delta to view Mohammed al-Kahtani, then to Charleston, South Carolina to view Jose Padilla, and finally to Norfolk, Virginia to view Yaser Esam Hamdi and to examine related facilities to confirm they were consistent with legal requirements. According to a New York Times report, despite an unclassified legal opinion issued in December 30, 2004 that declared torture "abhorrent," shortly after Gonzales became Attorney General in February 2005 the Justice Department issued another, classified opinion dated May 10, 2005, which for the first time provided Central Intelligence Agency explicit authorization to apply to terror suspects a combination of uncomfortable physical and psychological tactics (under strict guidelines administered by trained personnel to ensure safety, and monitored carefully by medical personnel). The legal opinion covered 13 techniques; it was recommended by Deputy Attorney General James Comey for approval by Gonzales. That opinion echoed the earlier December 30, 2004 memo by declaring, "Torture is abhorrent both to American laws and values and to international norms. The unusual repudiation of torture is reflected not only in our criminal laws, see, e.g., §§2340-2340A, but also in international agreements, in centuries of Anglo-American law, see, e.g., John H. Langbeen, Torture and the Law of Proof: Europe and England in the Ancien Régime (1977) ("Torture and the Law of Proof"), and in the long-standing policy of the United States, repeatedly and recently reaffirmed by the President.
    As a White House counsel, Gonzales signed a controversial memorandum in January 2002 to the president which argued that the limitations on the questioning of prisoners under the Geneva Conventions were "obsolete" when it deals with terrorism.
    More Details Hide Details The memo also states this new paradigm of non-nation states who fight in violation of the laws of war places a premium on getting information and "this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e. advances of monthly pay, athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments)."
    He was recognized with the Outstanding Texas Leader Award in 2002 by the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute during the Texas Leadership Forum.
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    Based on his record of accomplishments, Gonzales was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University in 2002 by the Association of Rice Alumni and was honored the same year by the Harvard Law School Association with its Harvard Law School Association Award.
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  • 2001
    Age 45
    Executive Order 13233 revoked President Ronald Reagan's Executive Order 12667 on the same subject and had the effect of delaying the release of Reagan's papers, which were due to be made public when Bush took office in 2001.
    More Details Hide Details While the policy was being drawn up, Gonzales as Counsel to the President issued a series of orders to the U.S. Archivist to delay the release of Reagan's records. This order was the subject of a number of lawsuits and Congressional attempts to overturn it. In 2007, a D.C. district court ordered the Archivist not to obey this order, finding it to be "arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act."
    Executive Order 13233, drafted by Gonzales, was issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001, although the White House had been working on this order for some months.
    More Details Hide Details The order dealt with the release of presidential records, making it possible for current and former presidents to assert executive privilege over the release of privileged presidential records. The order gives to the President the power to delay the release of presidential records longer than the congressionally mandated period of 12 years after the president leaves office.
    Gonzales was also an early advocate of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush on October 26, 2001. The PATRIOT Act was subsequently renewed by Congress and the President in March 2006 and again in February 2010.
    More Details Hide Details FBI Director Bob Mueller testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that many of the FBI's operational counter-terrorism successes since September 11 are the direct result of the changes incorporated in the PATRIOT Act. Gonzales's name was sometimes floated as a possible nominee to the United States Supreme Court during Bush's first presidential term. On November 10, 2004, it was announced that he would be nominated to replace United States Attorney General John Ashcroft for Bush's second term. Gonzales was regarded as a moderate compared to Ashcroft because he was not seen as opposing abortion or affirmative action. Although he has never stated publicly his support for abortion and later as Attorney General, was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Carhart, which reinforced the ban on late-term abortion that was previously overturned, and had stated publicly his opposition to racial quotas, some people assumed Gonzales did not oppose abortion or affirmative action. According to a Texas Monthly article, Gonzales has never said he was pro-choice and he has publicly opposed racial quotas.
  • 2000
    Age 44
    The case led to controversy during Bush's 2000 presidential campaign because Bush's answers to the potential juror questionnaire did not disclose Bush's own 1976 misdemeanor drunk driving conviction.
    More Details Hide Details Gonzales made no formal request for Bush to be excused from jury duty (to the contrary, Gonzales made it clear Bush was ready to serve as a juror), however, he did raise a possible conflict of interest because as the Governor, Bush might be called upon to pardon the accused in the case. The defense counsel has stated he had already thought of this conflict of interest problem for his client and had planned on his own to ask the judge to strike Bush from the jury. Nonetheless, Texas Monthly described Gonzales' work here as "canny lawyering". As Governor Bush's counsel in Texas, Gonzales also reviewed all clemency requests. A 2003 article in The Atlantic Monthly asserts that Gonzales gave insufficient counsel, and failed to second-guess convictions and failed appeals. The White House said the executive summaries prepared represented a small fraction of information provided to the Governor and sought only to document the governor's final decisions rather than recommend a course of action. Pete Wassdorf, head of the General Counsel's office for the Texas Attorney General, who served as Gonzales' deputy at the time, also said additional information about some of the cases was provided to Bush in other documents. Under Section II, Article 4 of the Texas Constitution, the Governor cannot grant a pardon or commute a death sentence except with a majority vote recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, so Bush was constrained in granting clemency even if he had wanted to do so in a case.
    The citizens of Texas elected Gonzales to a full six-year term on the Supreme Court in the November 2000 general election with 81% of the vote.
    More Details Hide Details Called yeyi by friends
  • 1999
    Age 43
    In 1999, he was named Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association.
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  • 1997
    Age 41
    He received the Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas in 1997 for his dedication to addressing basic legal needs of the indigent.
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  • 1996
    Age 40
    He was a member of delegations sent by the American Council of Young Political Leaders to Mexico in 1996 and to the People's Republic of China in 1995.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1994
    Age 38
    He was recognized as one of the Five Outstanding Young Houstonians in 1994 by the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce, and as one of the Five Outstanding Young Texans in 1994 by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce, and in 1999 was elected to the prestigious American Law Institute based upon his contributions to the law.
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  • 1993
    Age 37
    Additionally, he received the Commitment to Leadership Award in 1993 from the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast.
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    In addition to his political and legal career, Gonzales was active in the community. He was a board director of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast from 1993 to 1994, and President of Leadership Houston during this same period.
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  • 1992
    Age 36
    He was recognized as the Woodrow Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston in 1992 by the Houston Young Lawyers Association and as the Outstanding Young lawyer of Texas in 1992 by the Texas Young Lawyers Association.
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  • 1989
    Age 33
    Gonzales has received numerous professional honors, including the President's Award in 1989 from the Houston Bar Association, and the Hispanic Salute Award in 1989 from the Houston Metro Ford Dealers and Ford Division, Ford Motor Company for his work in the field of education.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1985
    Age 29
    Gonzales has been married twice: he and his first wife, Diane Clemens, divorced in 1985; he and his second wife, Rebecca Turner Gonzales, have three sons.
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  • 1982
    Age 26
    Gonzales was an attorney in private practice from 1982 until 1994 with the Houston law firm Vinson and Elkins, where he became a partner – the first Hispanic partner (along with one other new partner that year) in the firm's history – and where he worked primarily with business clients.
    More Details Hide Details In 1994, he was named general counsel to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, rising to become Secretary of State of Texas in 1997 and finally to be named to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, both appointments made by Governor Bush. Gonzales received the endorsement of every statewide official and every major Texas newspaper in his election bid to remain on the court in the Republican Primary in 2000, a race he won with over 57% of the vote.
    He then earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School in 1982.
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  • 1979
    Age 23
    He went on to be selected as the Charles Parkhill Scholar of Political Science and he earned a bachelor's degree with honors in political science in 1979.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1973
    Age 17
    An honors student at MacArthur High School in unincorporated Harris County, Gonzales enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1973, for a four-year term of enlistment.
    More Details Hide Details He served one year at a remote radar site with 100 other GIs at Fort Yukon, Alaska, located north of the Arctic Circle, before being released from active duty to attend the USAFA Prep School. Subsequently, he received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. Gonzales was on the Dean's List every semester and served as President of the Freshman Class Council at the Academy. He was on the Superintendent's List and Commandant's List for two semesters. Prior to beginning his third year at the academy, which would have caused him to incur a further service obligation, he left the Academy and was released from the enlistment contract. He transferred to Rice University in Houston, where he was a resident of Lovett College. Gonzales had dreamed of attending Rice as a boy when he sold soft drinks at Rice University football games.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1955
    Born
    Born on August 4, 1955.
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