Thursday, May 17, 2007

I Am Not a Crook!!

High Drama -- and High Crimes?

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Wednesday, May 16, 2007; 1:04 PM

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's gripping testimony yesterday about his high-speed race to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft's hospital bedside -- and the ensuing standoff with senior White House aides over the administration's warrantless wiretapping program -- may turn out to be the political-scandal equivalent of the tune nobody can get out of their heads.

It might not stack up as the most momentous of the accusations against the Bush White House. But it features a compelling narrative, an irreproachable witness and a serious charge of wrongdoing. At heart, Comey's tale is about a White House that refused to stand down even when its own Justice Department determined that what it was doing was illegal.

Here is the transcript of Comey's testimony. Here is the video. Read it or watch it -- and I dare you to tell me this story is going away anytime soon.

The Coverage

Dan Eggen and Paul Kane write in The Washington Post: "On the night of March 10, 2004, as Attorney General John D. Ashcroft lay ill in an intensive-care unit, his deputy, James B. Comey, received an urgent call.

"White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush's domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.

"In vivid testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Comey said he alerted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and raced, sirens blaring, to join Ashcroft in his hospital room, arriving minutes before Gonzales and Card. Ashcroft, summoning the strength to lift his head and speak, refused to sign the papers they had brought. Gonzales and Card, who had never acknowledged Comey's presence in the room, turned and left.


These people are up to their eyeballs in stinky business.

According to their schedule the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has a business meeting today for "Authorization of Subpoenas in Connection with Investigation into Replacement of U.S. Attorneys." We will see what comes out of that later today.

Stay tuned for more.



Alan said...

K, yesterday after watching the video of Comey's testimony, I should correct my narrative from the day before about what I read in the live-blog at firedoglake. I haven't went back to fdl to see if I remembered it wrong, or "EmptyWheel" got it wrong, but... Comey got a call from Ashcroft's chief-of-staff about Gonzo's hopital visit, not from Mrs. Ashcroft. Mrs. Ashcroft had called the C-O-S, and then he called Comey.

Micki, yeah I see it now that you spelled it out for me (CUTOMORO). I think I'm too literal/logical, and not enough artsy/spacial sometimes. Left-brained dominant vs right.

DEN said...

Didn't mean to confuse ya Alan.

Simple stuff gets me too.

Alan said...

I seen where Texas yesterday executed it's 14th prisoner this year, and it's got 5 more scheduled for next month. That'll always be something we're first in, I guess. *shrug*

Alan said...

Did anybody else get this email from DefCon?
This Memorial Day, the religious right will launch one of the most outrageous campaigns to date in their war on science: the $27 million “Creation Museum” in Petersburg, Kentucky.

The “Museum,” which was built by the religious right organization Answers in Genesis (AiG), is dedicated to the falsehood that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, claims that humans and dinosaurs coexisted a few thousand years ago, and has but one goal: to institutionalize the lie that science supports these fairytales.

micki said...

GAO says that Holeland Security is breaking privacy laws.

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke defended the program.

"The GAO in this case is woefully uninformed and I think that Congress and the public are being poorly served by this report," Knocke said. This program, he added, "has been the subject of more than 20 speeches or testimonies at hearings."

Oh? So the speeches and testimonies prove every thing is on the up n' up?

Boy oh boy, those goons turn my stomach!

micki said...


my typos are awful!!!!!

micki said...


About the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum

The Creation Museum will proclaim to the world that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice and in every area it touches on. This ‘walk through history’ museum will be a wonderful alternative to the evolutionary natural history museums that are turning countless minds against the gospel of Christ and the authority of the Scripture.

Countless minds? hahaha What minds?

DEN said...

I figure let them build whatever museum they want, just don't force your narrow view of the world on anyone that does not believe the BS.

Alan said...

Welp, the email came with a link to sign a petition against the museum because it could influence children with negative views on science in general, not just about evolution.
I can't remember where, but I seen somewhere awhile back that they called dinosaurs "jesus dogs" in a satire against the creationists.

Then yesterday I read an article about the 600 new species that were found in the Southern Ocean recently. Some were all new evolved that have never been seen, others were versions of species that were MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD. That's gotta hurt those bible-thumpers.

DEN said...

Denial of fact is nothing unusual for religious extremists, this is still a country where freedom of religion is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, just don't be shoving your religion in my face, I have my own beliefs thankyou.

Some folks are gullible enough to believe anything.

Just look at all the people that think 9/11 was done by terrorists from Iraq.

DEN said...

Petition time.

Dear Den,

How many times have you seen it? You wake up, check the news, and learn about yet another security breach involving Americans' personal financial information. And each new breach seems to be worse than the last.

Recently, retailer TJX (the owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) announced that a security breach exposed the transaction data of 47.5 million credit and debit card holders, setting an unfortunate new record in terms of personal records lost. And last month, the Transportation Safety Administration announced it had lost a hard drive with the Social Security numbers, payroll data, and bank information for 100,000 of its employees.

All told, according to the Privacy Rights Clearing House, more than 100 million records with sensitive personal information have been involved in security breaches since 2005. That's why I've signed on as a co-sponsor of Senator Patrick Leahy's Personal Data Privacy and Security Act, S. 495, comprehensive data privacy legislation that will finally give us the personal data protection we need to deal with the new threats presented by the information age.

But we need your help to build support in Congress for this important bipartisan bill.

Urge your Senators and Representative to pass Senator Leahy's Personal Data Privacy and Security Act -- without further delay!

Our legislation would update existing law to ensure that Americans' privacy is protected against the new and emerging threats introduced in the internet era, many of which did not even exist when the current privacy laws were originally written.

The bill requires that data brokers who hold personal information must tell consumers exactly what private data is being held, while allowing consumers to correct inaccurate data. The bill also requires that companies with personal information databases must implement privacy and security programs that would provide adequate protections from today's most cunning data thieves.

If private information is compromised, our legislation requires that affected consumers be notified in a timely manner -- an important new rule, considering that TJX kept their breach secret for over a month. And the bill would increase criminal penalties for electronic identity theft and make it a crime to cover up a data security breach.

Finally, the bill restricts the use of private information by the government, including new rules that federal agencies must promptly notify affected individuals if a data security breach occurs, while also requiring that federal agencies take a company's data security history into account when awarding government contracts.

Show Congress the widespread support that exists for increasing the security of our personal information -- urge your Senators and Representative to pass Senator Leahy's data privacy bill today!

The TJX data breach is just one of the many recent examples of why strong federal data privacy and security laws are needed to better secure Americans' sensitive personal information. I hope that you will join me in helping to pass Senator Leahy's long-overdue legislation.


Russ Feingold
United States Senator
Honorary Chair, Progressive Patriots Fund

Go here to sign the petition.

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- And I thought that Holeland Security was intended as commentary.

On something.

Anyway, god for a chuckle...

David B. Benson said...

Alan --- What impressed me most about the Southern Ocean finds was

carnivorous sponges!

micki said...

Iraq is on the verge of collapse: report
Thu May 17, 2007 3:05PM EDT

By Ibon Villelabeitia

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's government has lost control of vast areas to powerful local factions and the country is on the verge of collapse and fragmentation, a leading British think-tank said on Thursday.

Chatham House also said there was not one civil war in Iraq, but "several civil wars" between rival communities, and accused Iraq's main neighbors -- Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- of having reasons "for seeing the instability there continue."

"It can be argued that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation," it said in a report.

"The Iraqi government is not able to exert authority evenly or effectively over the country. Across huge swathes of territory, it is largely irrelevant in terms of ordering social, economic and political life."

The report also said that a U.S.-backed security crackdown in Baghdad launched in February has failed to reduce overall violence across the country, as insurgent groups have just shifted their activities outside the capital.

While cautioning that Iraq might not ultimately exist as a united entity, the 12-page report said a draft law to distribute Iraq's oil wealth equitably among Sunni Arabs, Shi'ites and ethnic Kurds was "the key to ensuring Iraq's survival."

"It will be oil revenue that keeps the state together rather than any attempt to build a coherent national project in the short term," the influential think-tank said.

The oil law, among benchmarks Washington has set Baghdad as critical steps to end sectarian violence, has yet to be approved by parliament. Ethnic Kurds, whose autonomous Kurdistan region holds large unproven reserves, oppose the draft's wording.

Rather that one civil war pitting majority Shi'ites against Sunnis nationwide, the paper said Iraq's "cross-cutting conflicts" were driven by power struggles between sectarian, ethnic and tribal groups with differing regional, political and ideological goals as they compete for the country's resources.

The author of the report, Middle East expert Gareth Stansfield, said instability in Iraq was "not necessarily contrary to the interests" of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

"(Iraq) is now a theatre in which Iran can 'fight' the U.S. without doing so openly," Stansfield said, adding that Iran was the "most capable foreign power" in Iraq in terms of influencing future events, more so than the United States.

The rise to power of Iraq's long-oppressed Shi'ite majority has caused concern in Sunni Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, which deeply distrusts non-Arab, Shi'ite Iran's influence in Iraq, Stansfield wrote.

Should a U.S. withdrawal herald the beginning of a full-scale Sunni-Shi'ite civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia "might not stand by," the paper said, "with the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia fighting each other through proxies in Iraq".

micki said...

Anyway, god for a chuckle...

LOL! I gott a gut chuckle from your typo, too!


micki said...

Sheesh! Tony the Lapdog Ought to BITE BUSH ON THE ANKLE (or somewhere!)!

Incredible! bush admits he, the Decider, the Commander Guy, may have caused the end of Blair's reign!

bush has lost it!

David B. Benson said...

Bush never had it...

Alan said...

Yeah Dr. B, it's a case of "the attacking sponges"! I seen one picture of 'em. Seen a few more wild-looking creatures as well, connected to the article. Of course the ones from deep down didn't have eyes, which is perfectly logical because it's too dark down there to see anyway, but it sure sounds strange to us humans.

Alan said...

Good article about Comey's revelations, with even more good articles linked inside it... 'specially the one to "Talking Points Memo" that then links to the one from ex-OLC official Marty Lederman, which points out and makes clear the president's direct involvement.

What will be done about James Comey's revelations?

micki said...

Well, that's true that "bush never had it" but he has "lost it" in any number of ways:

He lost Afghanistan. He lost Iraq. He "lost" sight of OBL. His inept 'leadership' has resulted in the lose of thousands of American lives, and tens of thousands of others' lives. The toadies who allied themselves with bush lost their governments, Blair, Aznar, Musharraf, Berlusconi. bush has lost the once-burgeoning friendship of Russia. He's lost respect for the United States around the world. Because of bush the Repugs lost control of Congress (thank goodness). bush has lost the confidence of the military, the intelligence, the scientific, the academic communities (or never had their confidence!). Because of bush, citizens have lost confidence in our judiciary. We have lost the essence of habeas corpus, because of bush. The United States has lost its reputation as placing value on human rights. bush is a total loser. Everything he touches translates to a lose. He has no moral compass. He didn't lose that, he never had a moral compass -- he is an amoral speciman.

Gerald said...

I truly feel glorified seeing Hitler's face behind bars.

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Right.

But is speciman a sexist remark?

Ha, ha...

micki said...

Boy oh boy, Dr. B, you are an alert proofreader!


David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Only other people's writings, as you have already noticed...

DEN said...

Good one:

During a press conference today, President Bush was confronted about recent accusations made by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey regarding the White House’s shocking efforts to seek legal sanction for its warrantless wiretapping program. According to Comey, Bush personally directed a White House effort to bypass Comey’s authority and seek approval from John Ashcroft, who was then hospitalized and in intensive care.

. . . NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell pressed Bush on this point. “Sir, did you send your then Chief of Staff and White House Counsel to the bedside of John Ashcroft while he was ill to get him to approve that program,” she asked, “and do you believe that kind of conduct from White House officials is appropriate?”

Bush twice dodged the question entirely. “Kelly, there’s a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn’t happen. I’m not going to talk about it.” He added, “I’m not going to move the issue forward by talking about” it.

As Joshua Marshall remarked, "The president's refusal to answer tells the tale. The president gave the order and even placed the call, as James Comey all but told us yesterday." (And Kevin Drum wryly notes that Dubya wasn't even able to claim the cover of a legal investigation, even though "practically everything in the Bush administration is under investigation these days, [so] it's a pretty handy excuse.")

Dropping it at the Presidents doorstep.


DEN said...

Dems have a golden opportunity to make serious hay.

David B. Benson said...

Den --- Yup. But only if they can convince enough Repugs in Congress to scramble for cover...

I'm not even going to bother to keep my fingers crossed. Makes keying mutch too difficult...

DEN said...

Doc, this thing is just starting, believe me, there will be more.

The rats are jumping and they are taking on water.

Finger crossing worked already, give them a rest.

DEN said...

Grab the popcorn, it promises to be a good show.

David B. Benson said...


much munch.

Munch Repugs for breakfast.
Munch Rebugs for lunch.

Munch better than popcorn...

DEN said...

Gonzo will be unemployed soon.

Maybe we can get some 'law and order' back in Dodge City, to kick the dumb young gun out of town, and his granpaw too.

Paraguay is beautiful this time of year.

Stuff moves slow tho.

DEN said...

At the end of this month I will qualify for items on the SENIOR menu.

Never thought I would make that landmark.

I'll have the SENIOR egg special please.

Never mind Doc just made popcorn.

good popcorn Doc!

David B. Benson said...

I prefer Repugs.

To each his own...

DEN said...

Those repugs?

Gosh, taste just like popcorn, lots of culls tho, PTWOOEY!

Aw now theres one in my teeth,

got a repug remover?

David B. Benson said...

I have strange tastes.

Prefer the rotten ones.

You can have the only one or two who aren't...

DEN said...

Rotten but well dressed.

DEN said...

All hail the king

Under Bush, loyalty has reigned supreme. But as his presidency unravels, his obligation to his faithful servants -- from Gonzales to Wolfowitz -- has become perilously relative.

By Sidney Blumenthal

May. 17, 2007 | Loyalty has always been the alpha and omega of George W. Bush's presidency. But all the forms of allegiance that have bound together his administration -- political, ideological and personal -- are being shredded, leaving only blind loyalty. Bush has surrounded himself with loyalists, who fervently pledged their fealty, enforced the loyalty of others and sought to make loyal converts. Now Bush's long downfall is descending into a series of revenge tragedies in which the characters are helpless against the furies of their misplaced loyalties and betrayals. The stage is being strewn with hacked corpses -- on Monday, former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty; imminently, World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz; tomorrow, whoever remains trapped on the ghost ship of state. As the individual tragedies unfold, Bush's royal robes unravel.

Loyalty to Bush is the ultimate royal principle of the imperial presidency. The ruler must be unquestioned and those around him unquestioning. Allegiance to Bush's idea of himself as the "war president," "the decider" and "the commander guy" is paramount. But the notion that the ruler is loyal to those loyal to him is no longer necessarily true. While he must be beheld as the absolute incarnation of kingly virtue, his sense of obligation to those paying homage has become perilously relative.

Those who feel compelled to tell the truth rather than stick to the cover story are cast in the dust, like McNulty. Those Bush defends as an extension of his authority but who become too expensive become expendable, like Wolfowitz. And those who exist solely as Bush's creations and whose survival is crucial to his own are shielded, like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

On Tuesday, James Comey, the former deputy attorney general, disclosed a story that might have been written by Mario Puzo, and it explained the rise of Gonzales as attorney general. On March 10, 2004, Comey was serving as acting attorney general while John Ashcroft was in an intensive-care unit being treated for pancreatitis. After an "extensive review" by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which concluded that Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program was illegal, Comey refused to sign its reauthorization. An aide to Ashcroft tipped Comey off that White House legal counsel Gonzales and chief of staff Andrew Card were headed to Ashcroft's hospital to get him to sign it. Comey rushed to the darkened room, where he briefed the barely conscious Ashcroft. Gonzales and Card entered minutes later, demanding that Ashcroft comply. He refused, pointing to Comey, saying he was the attorney general. "I was angry. I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man," Comey testified.


Excellent read on the inner workings of an insane mind.

DEN said...

Gonna wind 'er down here at Dens place.

Get off the box, soap box that is.


micki said...

Oh, goodie. The Dems are asking for a NO CONFIDENCE vote on Al Fredo and they think they have the 60 votes corralled to thwart a filibuster.

Pop some more popcorn! The show is getting better!

Alan said...

Who knew?

Employees at the World Bank have been wearing blue ribbons they made to protest wolfie and his crooked ways. They made a thousand and they were all gone the first day. Check it out...

At World Bank, Blue Ribbons Became Attire Of Their Ire