I don’t have much to add to Glenn Greenwald’s fine post as highlighted by Atrios today concerning the testimony of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Comey testified that former chief of staff Andrew Card and former general counsel (and Attorney General – still) Alberto Gonzales went to the hospital room of former Attorney General John Ashcroft to get approval for renewing the warrantless spying program (Ashcroft had just undergone gall bladder surgery). Comey and Director Robert Mueller of the FBI had persuaded Ashcroft not to renew the program, and Card and Abu G. were there to strong-arm a sick man into doing just that.
Aside from the utter repugnance of the actions of Card and Gonzales, what is shocking to me about this is that John Ashcroft is portrayed here as doing the right thing (although in a state of utter stupor at the time).
Of course, as this story by David Johnston notes in the New York Times today, Comey ended up meeting with Dubya the next day over it and the program was renewed after the two of them had a “full exchange.”
After reading this, I honestly understand less than ever before why anyone would think that this administration cares about legislative authority, separation of powers, or the rule of law. I cannot fathom why anyone would believe this gang that runs our executive branch when they give even the most laughably transparent hint of a compromise on any issue whatsoever.
They will never provide any details on the warrantless spying program to anyone (how many supposed terrorist communications intercepted, over how long, to and from what areas of the world, etc.). And of course, this is assuming that the point of the surveillance is for the stated purpose and not to monitor those unfriendly to this regime (I’ll put my money on the latter reason, thank you very much).
And as for further evidence, what else can you say when the person designated as the head of law enforcement in this country ignores a congressional subpoena?
Send federal marshals. That will get Abu G.’s attention all right.
(Not back to full posting yet – hopefully soon; the backlog is starting to build up.)
Update: Here and here are great posts on this by (who else?) Kagro X of The Daily Kos.
Update 5/17/07: Typical...