When the former chief spokesman for Attorney General John Ashcroft says that Alberto Gonzales’ subpoenaing of reporters is “… the most reckless abuse of power I have seen in years,” it should make us all snap to attention.

This isn’t exactly coming from a standard-bearer for the civil libertarians.

And yet, Mark Corallo, whose public relations firm currently represents Karl Rove (also striking that the top Presidential advisor should now need a PR agent), made this and similar statements in an interview with the New York Times and in an affidavit filed on behalf of two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.

Gonzales subpoenaed the reporters last month in order to force them to reveal their sources on–I kid you not–steroid use in baseball.

Mr Corallo offered this take on the action, “You just don’t ride roughshod over the rights of reporters to gather information from confidential sources.”

And if you didn’t think this administration was waging war on the press before, here are the facts as presented by James Goodale in a recent article for The New York Law Journal:

The Chronicle reporters face jail time for not revealing sources on the baseball story
• Gonzales is considering an indictment of the New York Times
• The FBI is reportedly tapping reporters phones
• The FBI is seeking 20 year-old classified documents from the estate of Jack Anderson
• The government is attempting to circumvent the First Amendment through an 89 year-old law, The Espionage Act

As Goodale writes, “It is hard to believe it is coincidental.”

Because it isn’t. Gonzales intends to shut up reporters by any means necessary. So much so that even conservatives like Corallo are finally speaking out.