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Tag: Andrew Card

FBI Director James Comey Becomes a Prisoner of His Boy Scout Image

Scott #1145

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The other day, a commentator on MSNBC described FBI Director James Comey as having a Boy Scout image. That’s a good thing for an FBI director.

The problem is that Comey appears to have become a prisoner of that image, and has placed more importance on  his image and the FBI’s image than the American people, the Justice Department and the presidential election, which is the World Series of democracy in this country.

Simply put, Comey, appeared to be so worried about his image, that he screwed up by firing off a letter notifying Congress  about emails his agents stumbled upon while investigating Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Huma Abedin. He says he was obligated to update Congressional members.  Plenty disagree with that assumption, at least under the circumstances.

The problem is, at this point, days before the election, Comey has no clue as to what the emails say or what significance they have. It would be different if he knew.  But agents have yet to start reviewing them.

Sure,  Comey should be obsessed about doing the right thing. But doing the right thing isn’t always best for his, nor the FBI’s image. Sometimes you have to take a hit, knowing you’re doing the right thing. In this case, he did  what he thought was the right thing for his and the FBI’s image above all else. It was wrong.

Before Friday, Comey’s image was already under attack by some current and former FBI agents, conservatives on Capitol Hill and the Donald Trump camp — all of whom felt the FBI gave Hillary Clinton and company special treatment during the email probe, and that Clinton should have been indicted.

Comey and his underlings in the bureau have been catching hell for that.

Now, this.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that Justice officials reminded the FBI of the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official.

“Director Comey understood our position. He heard it from Justice leadership,” the official said. “It was conveyed to the FBI, and Comey made an independent decision to alert the Hill. He is operating independently of the Justice Department. And he knows it.”

I’m sure Comey thought he was doing the right thing, though I wonder if he wasn’t also hoping to make amends with all those who faulted him for not recommending charges against Clinton.

Comey is no stranger to the politics of Washington and the sensitivity of elections.

In March 2004, during the President George W. Bush administration, Comey was deputy Attorney General when he rushed to the intensive care unit where Attorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized. Comey had learned that White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on the way to visit Ashcroft and get him to reauthorize Bush’s domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.

Comey went there and prevented that from happening. Back then, even though it was such an egregious attempt to violate the law, Comey knew better then to come out publicly that year and expose the Bush administration’s highly questionable intentions months before the November election in which Bush was seeking a second term.

I don’t agree with some who suggest that Comey be fired or resign. He is a stand up guy and has been good for the FBI.

But in this case, he screwed up.

On the upside,  Comey has turned Donald Trump around. Trump now thinks he’s A-Ok.

Not many Boy Scouts can say they’ve got Donald Trump in their corner.

 

Pres. Bush Sent Alberto Gonzales to See Ashcroft in Hospital, The Atlantic Reports

Alberto Gonzales/Fox 34

By Murray Waas
The Atlantic

In March 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a now-famous late-night visit to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft, seeking to get Ashcroft to sign a certification stating that the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program was legal. According to people familiar with statements recently made by Gonzales to federal investigators, Gonzales is now saying that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit.

The hospital visit is already central to many contemporaneous historical accounts of the Bush presidency. At the time of the visit, Ashcroft had been in intensive care for six days, was heavily medicated, and was recovering from emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder.

Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey has said that he believes that Gonzales and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, who accompanied Gonzales to Ashcroft’s hospital room, were trying to take advantage of Ashcroft’s grievously ill state—pressing him to sign the certification possibly without even comprehending what he was doing—and in the process authorize a government surveillance program which both Ashcroft and the Justice Department had concluded was of questionable legality.

To read the whole story click here.

Robert Mueller and John Ashcroft Considered Resigning Over Warrantless Wiretaps

The story behind the warrantless wiretaps is not one the prouder moments for the Bush administration, which sometimes saw the laws as more of an inconvenience than anything else.

John Ashcroft/doj photo

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Noel Brinkerhoff
AllGov

President George W. Bush’s insistence on continuing the warrantless wiretapping program in 2004 almost forced the resignations of some of top law enforcement officials in the administration, according to federal inspectors of the government’s top intelligence agencies.

The report by the inspectors general of the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Agency and other offices reveals that multiple officials in the Department of Justice, including Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller, were seriously considering stepping down because Bush was adamant about maintaining the domestic spying program without approval from the Justice Department.

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