Since much of the corporate media didn't even bother to mention James Comey's stunning testimony last week, here are a few links to articles by Glenn Greenwald that examine it. One of the bombs dropped was this radioactive bit:
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey detailed the desperate late night efforts by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card to get the Justice Department to approve a secret program -- the warrantless wiretapping program.
According to Comey's testimony this morning, only when faced with resignations by a number of Justice Department officials including Comey, his chief of staff, Ashcroft's chief of staff, Ashcroft himself and possibly Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, did the White House agree to make changes to the program that would satisfy the requirements of the Justice Department to sign off on it. . .
The events took place in March of 2004, when the program was in need of renewal by the Justice Department. When then-Attorney General John Ashcroft fell ill and was hospitalized, Comey became the acting-Attorney General.
The deadline for the Justice Department's providing its sign-off of the program was March 11th (the program required reauthorization every 45 days). On that day, Comey, then the acting AG, informed the White House that he "would not certify the legality" of the program.
The transcript of part of Comey's testimony is here. In particular, Comey detailed the attempt by Andy Card and Gonzales to manipulate Ashcroft's approval while Ashcroft was in the hospital so sick from a gall bladder condition that he named Comey Acting Attorney General pending his recovery. Comey's recollection is that the hospital visit by Gonzales and Card was arranged as a result of a telephone call from the President himself to Ashcroft's wife.
Comey testified that upon learning of this intended visit, he literally ran up the stairs to Ashcroft's hospital room, and his reason for the rush tells you all you need to know about this administration: "I was worried about him, frankly. I was concerned that this was an effort to do an end-run around the acting attorney general and to get a very sick man to approve something that the Department of Justice had already concluded -- the department as a whole -- was unable to be certified as to its legality." According to Comey, once he arrived in Ashcroft's hospital room, this is what occurred:And it was only a matter of minutes that the door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card. They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the attorney general very briefly. And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there -- to seek his approval for a matter, and explained what the matter was -- which I will not do.
And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me. He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me -- drawn from the hour-long meeting we'd had a week earlier -- and in very strong terms expressed himself, and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent, and said to them, But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the attorney general.
SCHUMER: But he expressed his reluctance or he would not sign the statement that they -- give the authorization that they had asked, is that right?