The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, May 17, 2007
What They are NOT telling you about that Comey Testimony
The implication is that the White House was trying to lean on Justice to do something illegal. But listen to what Mr. Comey actually said as Mr. Specter questioned him. Was he pressured by Mr. Card, Senator Specter asked? No. "I don't know that he tried to pressure me, other than to engage me on the merits and make clear his strong disagreements with my conclusion."
Did they threaten him, or suggest he could be fired? "No sir, I didn't feel threatened, nor did he say anything that could reasonably be read [as threatening]." And what about Mr. Bush, did he twist arms in the Oval? Through FBI director Robert Mueller, Mr. Comey explained, "The President said the Justice Department should do what the Department thinks is right."
So where's the smoking gun here? When the program was reauthorized by the President alone, Mr. Comey and others planned to resign in protest. So, Mr. Specter asked, does that mean the program went forward illegally? Again, negative: "The Justice Department's certification . . . was not [required] as far as I know." That's because, as even Mr. Comey conceded, many judges and scholars believe a President has the Constitutional authority to approve such wiretaps, especially in wartime.
In other words, per Mr. Comey's testimony, nothing illegal was done, he was never threatened by White House officials, and the President told him to do what he felt was right. The Gonzales-Card hospital intrusion was unusual, and politically unwise, but their motive at the time was to gain approval for a program the President thought vital to national security and was about to expire.