Saturday, January 03, 2009

Accused Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich loses Homeland Security Clearance--what other accused politicians have?

Washington D.C.--There's no indication that former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens lost his security clearance during the legal proceedings in his own case, so why the move on Blagojevich's? To hurt him, to make him appear "bad," to assassinate his character. Yes, yes, one was a senator, the other a governor--except that Stevens was under investigation for a very long time as Blagojevich has been (years), and there was every indication that he was guilty, just like the Governor of Illinois.

Great, they have a lot in common...except in how they're being treated. At least Ted Stevens is going to have a hard time practicing law in Alaska, but does it matter? He's in his eighties. Stevens got the kid-glove treatment for far longer. Yes, there have been "ongoing investigations" into Blagojevich for years, which is not simply odd but smells of someone gunning for someone.

On Stevens's last day in the Senate, he was given a standing ovation. It wasn't reassuring that anything was about to change in Congress anytime soon. This is an individual--not a man--who was convicted of seven felonies by a jury of his peers. You read that right if you didn't somehow know it already: seven felony convictions. Stevens was also on committees and subcommittees that dealt directly with the DHS.

There's no indication from the record that he was ever stripped of any of his security clearances at any point until it was clear he was convicted and leaving office.

That's not the case with Blagojevich, and yet, the Bush II administration must be behind some of it--they still have sixteen days left in office, not the Obama team. Surely, they requested it--someone did--and it's safe to assume that it was for political reasons that cross party lines into the realms of class loyalty and preserving a rotten barrel. By all appearances, Ted Stevens retained his DHS security clearance (and his general security clearance as a sitting representative) until he was indicted in July 2008. Blagojevich hasn't even been indicted yet, but the calls to move quickly in unseating him stand in stark contrast with the treatment of other politicians accused of criminal behavior.

That's a matter of procedure at that point, but it should have been stripped from Stevens much earlier than it was, but Republicans can do anything they want.

Somehow, a man with seven felony convictions deserves a standing ovation before the Senate of the United States, while a standing governor of Illinois deserves no presumption of innocence until proven guilty, including the removal of said clearance, and so on. If that's not a contemptible attitude for due process to serve political ends, then nothing is. Republican senators did their best to block stripping Stevens from holding leadership roles on committees for exactly one year after the FBI raided his home. His indictment forced their hand.

Governor Blagojevich hasn't even technically been indicted yet and U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald is asking for "more time" to shore-up one. Curious, that--all of it. Perhaps we'll all be singing "The Wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald" before long.

Revised 01.04.2008