“Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged”: Rove Inquisitor Inquired Into

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The “we are all prostitutes” meme: a
locus classicus. This remark was omitted from the broadcast commentary by Globo’s Arnaldo Jabor as posted to YouTube, after a court ordered removed from the Web site of the CBN radio network— is this really the version that aired? — but does figure in the text of the commentary as published in the O Povo newspaper: “[When Lula alluded to widespread corruption and impunity under Cardoso,] it was like a whorehouse brawl in which the little whores defend themselves by point out the sins of others. ” Lula is a whore! (And so was Cardoso!)” See also A Note on Moral Relativism in Contemporary Banana-Republican Guilty Pleas

Judge not, that ye be not judged. / For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again / And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? –Matthew, 7:1-3

Matthew 7:1 directly contradicts John 7:24 where He uses the same Greek words: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge [krino] with righteous judgment.” Here He says we are to judge, but He mitigates it with instruction on how to judge, just as in Matthew 7. Certainly, we are to analyze—judge—what is right or wrong, based on the mind of God as expressed in His Word. How we apply that judgment to others is critical, for Christ will take the same attitude with us that we take with others. –The Forerunner Bible Commentary

Mr. Bloch believes the White House may have a conflict of interest in pressing the inquiry into his conduct while his office investigates the White House political operation.

Head of Rove Inquiry in Hot Seat Himself: Wall Street Journal reporter John R. Wilke sources the story to “lawyers familiar with the case.”

The flap exhibits many of the standard prima facie features of a potential “we are all prostitutes” noise-machine campaign — here in Brazil, it is known as the ladrão chamando de ladrão gambit. “He who calls another a thief is himself a thief.”

At the same time, Mr. Bloch has himself been under investigation since 2005. At the direction of the White House, the federal Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general is looking into claims that Mr. Bloch improperly retaliated against employees and dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination.

Claims by whom?

And more recently:

Recently, investigators learned that Mr. Bloch erased all the files on his office personal computer late last year. They are now trying to determine whether the deletions were improper or part of a cover-up, lawyers close to the case said.

Do these investigators have a name? Are the investigators the same people as the lawyers close to the case? Did they call the W$J or did the W$J call them?

Bypassing his agency’s computer technicians, Mr. Bloch phoned 1-800-905-GEEKS for Geeks on Call, the mobile PC-help service. It dispatched a technician in one of its signature PT Cruiser wagons. In an interview, the 49-year-old former labor-law litigator from Lawrence, Kan., confirmed that he contacted Geeks on Call but said he was trying to eradicate a virus that had seized control of his computer.

On the degree of compliance with IT policies at the White House in recent years, see also

Mr. Bloch said no documents relevant to any investigation were affected. He also says the employee claims against him are unwarranted. Mr. Bloch believes the White House may have a conflict of interest in pressing the inquiry into his conduct while his office investigates the White House political operation. Concerned about possible damage to his reputation, he cites a Washington saying, “You’re innocent until investigated.”

One Hatch Act violation already alleged:

The special counsels probe has already found one alleged violation, at the General Services Administration, where Rove deputies gave a presentation on Jan. 26. At the end of the presentation, according to a report by Mr. Blochs office on the incident, GSA Administrator Lurita Doan asked, “How can we help our candidates?” Twenty participants in the meeting recalled substantially the same words, the report said.

Bloch urges discipline for Doan:

In a letter to President Bush, Mr. Bloch urged that Ms. Doan “be disciplined to the fullest extent for her serious violation of the Hatch Act” and for failing to cooperate “fully and honestly” with the probe. The White House hasnt acted on Mr. Blochs request. In a response, Ms. Doan said the investigation was “far off the mark.” Her lawyer urged the White House to ignore Mr. Blochs findings, citing a “clear lack of objectivity and impartiality.”

The man moved from a cargo de confiança — running faith-based programs in the Justice Dept. [!] — to a post designed to be structurally insulated from political pressure.

Mr. Bloch was a loyal member of the Bush administration, serving in the Justice Department’s office of faith-based programs, when the president named him to head the Office of Special Counsel in 2003. Unlike many administration appointees, Mr. Bloch doesn’t serve at the pleasure of the president. He has a fixed five-year term and may be removed only for malfeasance. That is supposed to ensure his agency has the independence to pursue any probe.

Besides the fact that it is apparently based on leaks from a confidential investigation, the story is a bit mushy on what the rules are and whether or not the conduct described might or might not count as a violation of them.

Depending on circumstances, erasing files or destroying evidence in a federal investigation can be considered obstruction of justice.

Depending on what circumstances? It seems like the principal circumstance would be whether or not the files destroyed were evidence were part of a federal investigation. The guy says they were not.

In what circumstances is erasing files or destroying evidence not considered obstruction of justice?

Mr. Bloch had his computer’s hard disk completely cleansed using a “seven-level” wipe: a thorough scrubbing that conforms to Defense Department data-security standards. The process makes it nearly impossible for forensics experts to restore the data later. He also directed Geeks on Call to erase laptop computers that had been used by his two top political deputies, who had recently left the agency.

A seriously expensive exercise in “I cannot recall, Senator”:

Geeks on Call visited Mr. Bloch’s government office in a nondescript office building on M Street in Washington twice, on Dec. 18 and Dec. 21, 2006, according to a receipt reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The total charge was $1,149, paid with an agency credit card, the receipt shows. The receipt says a seven-level wipe was performed but doesn’t mention any computer virus.

Where did the Wall Street Journal get the receipt?

Who showed it to them?

Why are its sources anonymous?

What reason did Clay Johnson, who is ” the White House official overseeing the Office of Personnel Management’s inquiry into Mr. Bloch,” give for declining to comment?

I ask out of curiosity. Tales of attempted borking of the designated borkers by prospective borkees inside the Bush White House are, of course, interesting in themselves.

Are we going to need the moral equivalent of a UN peacekeeping mission to prevent the moral equivalent of political genocide from breaking out here?

But, well, you know: Leak journalism.

It can come back to haunt you.

Just ask Judy Miller.

Wilke seems to work the “federal probe” beat. A sample of his recent solo bylines:

  • Nevada governor faces FBI probe into contracts; investigation is focused on acts while Gibbons served as congressman (2007-02-15)
  • Murtha Inc.: How Lawmaker Rebuilt Hometown on Earmarks; Johnstown Gets Billions With Power Broker’s Aid; FBI Questions a Contract (2007-10-30)
  • Congressman’s favors for friend include help in secret budget; with Rep. Gibbons’s backing, an ex-trader for Milken wins millions in contracts (2006-11-01)
  • Seat in Congress helps Mr. Taylor help his business; lawmaker pushes earmarks for projects near his land; he says district benefits. (2006-10-11)
  • How lawmaker rebuilt hometown with earmarks; Johnstown gets billions with power broker’s aid; FBI questions a contract ( 2007-10-30)
  • Gabelli, U.S. discuss settlement in fraud case; pact to end investigation of cellular-spectrum bids is likely to top $100 million. (2006-06-01)
  • Lawmaker bought farm with CEO who gained from appropriations. (2006-04-25)
  • KPMG faces criminal case on tax shelters; Justice officials debate whether to seek indictment; fears of ‘Andersen scenario’ (2005-06-16)
  • Crying foul at whistle-blower protector; some staff from U.S Office of Special Counsel claim wrongdoing by agency’s chief.
  • Top antitrust official to step down; Justice Department seeks R. Hewitt Pate’s successor as telecom reviews loom. (2005-05-10)
  • U.S. officials may seek leak probe; disclosures about program to develop spy satellites could prompt investigation. (2004-12-13)
  • Price-fixing investigations sweep chemical industry; prosecutors’ use of amnesty for some whistle-blowers helps widen scope of probes. (2004-06-22)

Assignment: In this sample of solo bylines, how many “sources close to the probe said” sourcing statements, as a proportion of all sourcing statements (the “density of murky sourcing,” or DMS ratio)? DMS in shared-byline stories? DMS in the W$J in general?

Not, mind you, that I question whether things might not be just as murky as this report suggests.

David Sasaki-style “fear and misinformation” sometimes really do “abound.” The entire case here — Gonzalez and Rove — is all about ratfinking the disloyal, those not fanatically dedicated to the project of permanently fusing the Party with the State.

But like I said, it is just that I collect “we are prostitutes” memes, the way others collect, say, coral snakes.

There are, of course, “false” corals, with the same distinctive coloration but without the death-dealing poison. It would be interesting to get a read on which one this might be.

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