Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The warrantless wiretapping resurfaces

The bizarre story of then acting AG Comey's refusal to sign-off on the warrantless wiretapping program and the ensuing rush to Ashcroft's bedside by Comey, Gonzales and Card is not new, but still always fun to read about.

Paul Kiel updates us from Comey's testimony today.
According to Comey, he was on his way home when he got a call from Ashcroft's wife that Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card were on their way to the hospital*. Comey then rushed to the hospital (sirens blaring) to beat them there and thwart "an effort to overrule me."

After Comey arrived at the hospital with a group of senior Justice Department officials, Gonzales and Card arrived and walked up to Ashcroft, who was lying barely conscious on his hospital bed. "Gonzales began to explain why he was there, to seek his approval for a matter," Comey testified. But Ashcroft rebuffed Gonzales and told him that Comey was the attorney general now. "The two men turned and walked from the room," said Comey.

A "very upset" Andrew Card then called Comey and demanded that he come to the White House for a meeting at 11 PM that night.
What did it take to ultimately force concessions from the WH?
According to Comey's testimony this morning, only when faced with resignations by a number of Justice Department officials including Comey, his chief of staff, Ashcroft's chief of staff, Ashcroft himself and possibly Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, did the White House agree to make changes to the program that would satisfy the requirements of the Justice Department to sign off on it (Comey refused to name the program, but it's apparent from the context and prior reports that this was the warrantless wiretapping program).
The reminds me of the reason I will never forgive Colin Powell for the Iraq war. Powell was the one man who both knew better, and had the power / stature to stop it with his threatened resignation. What did he do? He went before the UN and lied. So, as I've said here before, fuck Colin Powell. I hope he never has a decent night's sleep the rest of his life.

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