Saturday, May 19, 2007

Revolt within Justice

The testimony of James Comey about the dramatic effort byAlberto Gonzales and Andrew Card to exploit then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was critically ill, into signing off on a renewal of the NSA unwarranted surveillance on Americans program was fascinating, and pretty revealing about the contempt this administration has for the rule of law.

It turns out that Comey, who was Ashcroft's #2, wasn't the only one in the Justice Department concerned about the way the administration preferred to run roughshod over civil liberties. According to this story about a year ago in Newsweek, which I didn't see back then, there was also Jack Goldsmith, who now teaches at Harvard. He was not only part of the Justice team (along with Comey and Patrick Philbin, as well as John Bellinger, the National Security Council's top lawyer) who resisted renewing the NSA program, they also fought over memos that seemed to authorize torture, primarily written by John Yoo (who now teaches at Berkeley). These guys butted heads constantly with executive power absolutists Yoo, Gonzales and David Addington, who was Cheney's counsel then and is his chief of staff now.

Maybe all is not lost -- though it's worth noting that most of the good guys are out of government now.

1 comment:

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