Mark Corallo is a fucking liar.
If you don't know who he is yet, he is the Justice Department's leading spokesman on the USA PATRIOT Act. The ACLU has compiled a report on the Justice Department's misinformation campaign about PATRIOT, which contains some damning details about Corallo's veracity. For example, Corallo told Florida Today: "U.S. citizens cannot be investigated under [the PATRIOT Act]." Lie. He told the Bangor [ME} Daily News: "The fact is the FBI can’t get your records." Another lie. To get your records, the FBI "must get a search warrant. And to get a warrant, it must convince a judge 'there is probable cause that the person you are seeking the information for is a terrorist or a foreign spy.'" A total lie. He told the Associated Press that the law only applies to agents of a foreign power or a member of a terrorist organization. All lies.
Before coming to Ashcroft's employ, Corallo worked for House Speaker Livingston as the spokesman for the U.S. House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. He had a major hand in the Clinton impeachment and the ongoing Hunt for the Clenis.
When Speaker Livingston started to have second thoughts about the impeachment, according to CBS News, this is what happened:
"Livingston, who would soon be forced to resign over his own marital infidelities, told an aide, Mark Corallo, 'We've got to stop this. This is crazy. We're about to impeach the president of the United States.'
Corallo convinced Livingston to reconsider. 'Boss, we have a rapist in the White House,' he said, a reference to allegations against Mr. Clinton by a woman named Juanita Broaddrick about a 1978 incident. Broaddrick's calims were not included in the House impeachment findings.
Livingston said he can't recall the conversation, but didn't deny it took place."
Mark Corallo, liar and right-wing hatchet man.
Corallo has told so many outright lies, half-truths and distortions, at this point he probably wouldn't know the truth if it got up and bit him on the ass. Which it did, in a way, yesterday. On Monday, the Philadelphia Daily News printed an editorial reporting that Herr Ashcroft was going on the PATRIOT and More! Tour around the country, including a stop in Philly. Corallo called them and (1) denied there was going to be any tour, (2) demanded they print a retraction and apology. Then the story appeared the next day in the Washington Post. The News is not too pleased with Mr. Corallo. So, what happened? I think Ashcroft floated the idea of the tour, because he knows he is a major political liability for Bush in the upcoming election. If you don't believe that, then you didn't hear the cheer that went up at the Dean rally the other day when Dean said he was going to stand up to Ashcroft. It was the second biggest applause line after promising to give Bush a one-way ticket back to Crawford. But when the story was leaked, the reaction surprised Ashcroft - people like me were rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of a public forum to rip him a new asshole. They had to backpedal and now aren't sure if they want to go ahead, or if they want to try to somehow prevent a hostile audience. The problem is that they need to make it something newsworthy, and talking to a room full of Federalist Society members is not going to do it.
I sure hope Ashcroft does come to town, and he brings Corallo with him. I would like to see him try to spin his way out of a room of real civil libertarians.