“You have no idea how bad it is here”

“YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW BAD IT IS HERE”….Via Balloon Juice, Chitra Ragavan at U.S. News & World Report passes along the following update on Purgegate:

“You have no idea,” said one Justice official, “how bad it is here.”

The fear that virtually any piece of communication will have to be turned over has paralyzed department officials’ ability to communicate effectively and respond in unison to the crisis, as has the fact that senior Justice officials themselves say they still don’t know the entire story about what happened that led to the crisis. So they are afraid that anything they put down on paper could be viewed as lies or obfuscation, when in fact, the story is changing daily as new documents are found and as the Office of Legal Counsel conducts its own internal probe into the matter.

Golly. I wonder why they think that anything they put down on paper could be viewed as lies or obfuscation? That’s a real poser. And then there’s this about the problem Bush would face if Alberto Gonzales leaves the Justice Department:

Who could Bush find that could get Senate confirmation, since Democrats now run the show? It would have to be a seasoned insider, a consummate veteran or an elder statesman who has bipartisan respect and acceptance and a squeaky-clean record.

“The trouble,” says one former official, “is that no one comes to mind.”

Elliot Richardson died a few years ago, so yeah, I can see their problem.

UPDATE: By the way, I’ll be very surprised if there’s anything close to a smoking gun in the 2000-page document dump still being promised for tonight. Even among the nitwits routinely hired by the Bush administration, I can’t believe that any of them would be stupid enough to put in writing a suggestion that a U.S. Attorney be fired because their investigations were insufficiently partisan.

Then again, with this crew you never know. Stay tuned.