James B Comey: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
This past week there has been lots written about former Deputy Assistant Attorney General James B Comey after his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He's won lots of praise for standing up to the Bush capos in 2004 and for his willingness to stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law. And certainly, he deserves the praise he is garnering.
However, does this mean Comey believes the Bush administration (and Bush himself) are the manifestation of a criminal enterprise? From some of the quotes in recent articles, it would appear that he still holds Bush in some regard and is quite put off by the thought that perhaps he is being associated with the dirty left.
Here's a piece by Chitra Ragavan in the US News & Report where the message is Democrats: bad, Bush: okay.
Such actions have made Comey something of a bete noire in the Bush administration-even though Comey believes that Bush respected him and wanted him to do the right thing. Indeed, now some Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, say they will even back Comey for attorney general if Gonzales resigns. "The only thing worse than being vilified by the left," says Comey with a laugh, "is being idolized by the left."
But would Bush ever nominate him as AG? Hell no, because Comey forced Bush to change his little program and then he publicly humilated Bush and his administration by testifying before Congress. (First to back the fired US Attorneys, and next to expose the Bush mafia tactics.)
In fact, it was during the showdown in 2004 between the DoJ and the White House that Bush bestowed a derisive nickname on Comey.
The angry reaction bubbled up all the way to the Oval Office. President Bush, with his penchant for put-down nicknames, had begun referring to Comey as "Cuomey" or "Cuomo," apparently after former New York governor Mario Cuomo, who was notorious for his Hamlet-like indecision over whether to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s.
Perhaps Bush grudgingly respects Comey, but that grudging respect won't go too far. As Murray Waas wrote in his piece about how Bush personally helped Gonzales put the kibosh on the DoJ internal investigation into the warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Mr. Comey was pretty high on Bush's bad list.
Even worse, in the view of Cheney and Addington, Goldsmith began to question the legality of various aspects of the NSA eavesdropping program. Goldsmith found a sympathetic ear and ally when James Comey was appointed deputy attorney general in late 2003. A no-nonsense federal prosecutor who at the time of his appointment was the U.S. attorney general for the Southern District of Manhattan, Comey eschewed politics within an administration that demanded political loyalty, senior Justice officials recalled in interviews. Comey supported Goldsmith's contentions that absent significant changes to the eavesdropping program, portions of it were illegal.
Comey certainly would have been interviewed at length during the OPR probe, according to sources close to the investigation. Earlier, he had earned the enmity of some in the White House, a former senior administration official recalled in an interview, when Comey named a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media.
"Comey showed us that he was a guy who wouldn't be kept on a leash," said a former White House official, "in an administration that likes to keep everybody on a short leash."
In March 2004, while then-Attorney General Ashcroft was in the hospital, Comey faced down the White House, asserting that he wouldn't reauthorize the eavesdropping program unless it was brought within the law. Ultimately, a compromise was reached and the NSA eavesdropping program was reauthorized with the changes recommended by Goldsmith and Comey.
That Goldsmith, Baker, and Comey might be questioned as part of a Justice Department inquiry "must have raised the specter of a waking nightmare for the AG," a former senior Justice Department official said in an interview.
So inquiring minds want to know what exactly would make Mr. Comey realize he will never have Bush's respect. It's not the way Bush operates. Comey will simply have to put up with the thanks of the lefty Americans who love this country, it's Constitution and the Rule of Law as much as he does.