Wednesday, May 16, 2007


By Creature

Yesterday, the former No. 2 at the Justice Department, James Comey, filled in the details of an attempt by the administration to skirt DOJ approval with respect to their warrantless wiretapping program -- an attempt which included a late night visit to a sick and hospitalized attorney general and a subsequent reauthorization of the program without DOJ approval. Today, even the Washington Post's editorial board is "disturbed" by it all.

The dramatic details should not obscure the bottom line: the administration's alarming willingness, championed by, among others, Vice President Cheney and his counsel, David Addington, to ignore its own lawyers. Remember, this was a Justice Department that had embraced an expansive view of the president's inherent constitutional powers, allowing the administration to dispense with following the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Justice's conclusions are supposed to be the final word in the executive branch about what is lawful or not, and the administration has emphasized since the warrantless wiretapping story broke that it was being done under the department's supervision.

Now, it emerges, they were willing to override Justice if need be. That Mr. Gonzales is now in charge of the department he tried to steamroll may be most disturbing of all.

Welcome, WaPo, to the land of the disturbed. Maybe now there will be less cheerleading and more scrutiny. Maybe.

Glenn Greenwald will take you the rest of the warrantless wiretapping way.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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