Did you see Pete Williams on MSNBC today dishing some insider scoop on former Deputy Attorney General James Comey? Did you believe him? …
Jane reports what she heard: “Siun tells us that Pete Williams was on MSNBC today spinning the yarn that James Comey’s objections to the NSA wiretapping scheme [ED: when he was standing in for a hospitalized John Ashcroft] were only momentary and technical, and that he eventually was part of the effort to get the NYT to sit on the story.”
That’s what I heard Williams say too. He also said that Comey has refused to comment on any of the NSA stories. So, who did Williams talk to? Any of you want to guess who Williams’s sources might be?
There are a number of candidates who could be tapped to replace John Ashcroft as attorney general if President George W. Bush wins re-election. But perhaps the most obvious choice, Deputy AG James Comey, almost certainly will not be.
Since his confirmation as the No. 2 Justice Department official in December 2003, sources … say Comey has had a strained relationship with some of the president’s top advisers . . . .
Earlier this year, after the disclosure of internal administration memos that seemed to condone the torture of suspected terrorists overseas, Comey pushed aggressively for the Justice Department’s memos to be released to the media and for controversial legal analyses regarding the use of torture to be rewritten. [ED: Does this mean he crossed swords with Professor Yoo and ‘berto?]
In a deeply partisan administration that places a high premium on political loyalty, sources say Comey … is not viewed as a team player.
“[Comey] has shown insufficient political savvy,” says the former official. “The perception is that he has erred too much on the side of neutrality and independence.” […]
“The appointment of Pat Fitzgerald is the kind of decision that the White House isn’t thrilled with,” says one former DOJ official. “Comey knew what he was doing when he appointed Pat.”
Is the Administration moving to scuttle the Hamdan, Al Odah cases? …
“The Bush Administration appears to be preparing to try to scuttle the two most significant pending cases on the legal rights of foreign nationals now being held at the terrorism prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” reports SCOTUSblog. “One of those cases has been granted review by the Supreme Court, the other is awaiting a decision in the D.C. Circuit Court.”
President Bush himself signaled this strategy of challenge in a statement last Friday that got little mention in the media, … (The full text of the President’s signing statement can be found here. The discussion of the detainee issue is in the eighth paragraph, which begins “The executive branch shall construe Title X…”) (Read all, via Memeorandum)
And there are two more amphibious legal (and spy) beagles below the fold …
Over at MSNBC, Roger Cressey blogs that Bush’s extra-legal spying may hurt the intelligence community long-term …
“I fear that by choosing not to invest the time and effort to find a solution with Congress, the White House has done far-reaching damage to the intelligence community. Congress will surely take action once their hearings are concluded. This action is bound to have long term, unintentional consequences for NSA and it’s ability to support the policy community. At a time when the threat by al-Qaida and the movement it spawned remains, that is not the outcome anyone should hope for.” | MORE
Cressey is NBC News’s Terrorism Analyst.
Did you know — while you were lazing about, lying on the sofa, munching away, sampling hangover cures, and watching too much football — that Chief Justice Roberts polished off and issued his first “Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary? Me either …
Whaddya wanna bet that Roberts — a judicial Ken doll if there ever was one — was not only not hung over but probably was in a crisp white shirt all day as he did the final edit?