Gonzales, Alberto R. (gŏnzălˈĭs) [key], 1955–, American government official, b. San Antonio, Tex. After serving in the Air Force (1973–75), he attended the Air Force Academy and graduated from Rice Univ. (B.A., 1979) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1982). He was in private practice in Texas until he was named general counsel to Texas governor George W. Bush in 1994. Texas secretary of state after 1997, he was appointed to the Texas supreme court in 1999. After Bush became president (2001), Gonzales was named White House counsel. He was criticized for helping craft U.S. policies that increased restrictions on access to government information and disregarded the Geneva Conventions, especially with respect to the use of torture in interrogating enemy prisoners. In 2005, Gonzales succeeded John Ashcroft as U.S. attorney general. In 2007 he again became a focus of controversy when his statements—some of them under oath—concerning why several federal prosecutors were dismissed and concerning whether Justice Dept. officials had objected in 2004 to a secret government surveillance program were contradicted by testimony from his subordinates and others. He was strongly criticized by both Democrats and some prominent Republicans in Congress and ultimately resigned in Sept., 2007.
See biography by B. Minutaglio (2006).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.