Pete Williams was on MSNBC today spinning the yarn that James Comey's objections to the NSA wiretapping scheme were only momentary and technical, and that he eventually was part of the effort to get the NYT to sit on the story.
While this tale is I suppose possible it sounds quite unlikely, and its successful perpetuation depends on two things:
1) That Comey himself will not come out and challenge it. Probably true.
2) That nobody in the blogosphere will ferret around in the news vaults and set Comey's relationship to the Administration during his brief stint at the DoJ in its proper context.
In this particular instance the context is set by Orin Kerr over at the Volokh Conspiracy, who unearths this superb bit from the Legal Times in October 2004...
"[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."
In a different era Pete Williams' story would sit unchallenged like so many other great stinking piles of pushback spin, at best only part of a larger story designed to paint the Administration's despotic actions in a positive light.... By the time the truth came out Williams' credulous repetition of a tale that certainly looks, sounds and smells like bullshit would be long forgotten...
Partisan privilege will not protect journalists willing to sacrifice the truth and their integrity for a quick ride on the lap of the steely-eyed rocketman.
firedoglake: 01/01/2006 - 01/07/2006