1/03/2006

Booman Tribune - Comey pushed aggressively for neutrality, against torture

"I Spy" Legal Beagles

by susanhu
Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 10:32:59 PM EST
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?

Jane adds a big find: ".. the context is set by Orin Kerr over at the Volokh Conspiracy, who unearths this superb bit from the Legal Times in October 2004:"

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."

Booman Tribune ~ Boo!

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