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Gonzo a goner, but NSA surveillance here to stay

Surveillance and torture enthusiast resigns, but legacy intact

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Is it all over yet?

We'd like to think so, but while Alberto Gonzalez, the Attorney General who slayed the habeas corpus beast, made torture official policy, and brought warrantless surveillance to a neighborhood near you called it quits today, his legacy will stay with us for years to come.

This correspondent has followed the Gonzalez mess closely, if for no other reason than his DOJ has had a particularly stiff hard-on for the online gambling industry, which I cover on a regular basis. Nonetheless, only a president as stubborn as George Bush would keep a bumbling fool like Gonzalez around for as long as he did - factual evidence of his robust limitations as Attorney General be damned.

Unfortunately, Gonzales's incompetence will live on in a string of dubious legal arguments largely rubber-stamped by a pliant Congress and maintained through claims of executive privilege and state secrecy.

Ultimately, it will be up to the courts to undo the damage done, as Gonzalez spent so much time walking all over the fundamental rights of Americans he's practically left footprints on the Bill of Rights. Thanks to his stewardship, American citizens can now be classed as enemy combatants, spied on without warrants, imprisoned indefinitely without charges or redress to the courts, and subjected to "enhanced interrogation" techniques.

Bravo, Gonzo. Good-bye, and good-riddance.®

Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office

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