So Who is James Comey, Obama’s New FBI Chief?


James Comey, Deputy Attorney General under President Bush, is reported to be President Obama’s pick to lead the FBI. File photo from Jan. 14, 2004. Photograph: Evan Vucci, File/Associated Press

So Who is James Comey, Obama’s Nominee to Head the FBI? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 6, 2013):

In light of the latest revelations that the NSA is spying on the communications of millions of Verizon customers courtesy of information provided by the FBI, it probably makes sense to know a little more about Obama’s nominee to head that Bureau.  That man is James Comey, and he was a top Department of Justice attorney under John Ashcroft during the George W. Bush Administration (since then he has worked at Lockheed Martin and at the enormous Connecticut hedge fund Bridgewater Associates).  This guy defines the revolving door cancer ruining these United States.

Comey’s defenders point out that he stood up to some of the more egregious spy programs that Bush officials wanted to pursue, and that he also expressed reservations about the torture program.  Nevertheless, he signed off on, and provided the legal justification for both.  This is the man being recycled back through the revolving door by Obama.  I have read many articles on Mr. Comey ever since it surfaced he would be nominated and, as usual, Glenn Greenwald did the best work.

From the Guardian:

In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years – that we still don’t know – even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005. It was Comey, along with Ashcroft, Mueller, and Goldsmith, who threatened to resign if it did not stop, and they deserve credit for that. But the reason they didn’t end up resigning was because Bush officials “modified” that NSA program into something those lawyers could and did endorse: the still-illegal, still-radical NSA eavesdropping program that spied on the communications of Americans without warrants and in violation of the law. And this was accomplished by inventing a new legal theory to accompany the old one: that Congress, when it enacted the 2001 AUMF, silently and “implicitly” authorized Bush to eavesdrop in exactly the ways the law expressly forbade.

There’s no question that James Comey was far from among the worst people at the Bush DOJ. He’s not John Yoo or David Addington, some of whose theories he rejected. He engaged in some rare, commendable conduct, including objecting to the more extreme version of the NSA program to the point of threatening resignation, and voicing serious reservations about the wisdom of some of the more extreme torture techniques. I understand the respect people have for some of what he did, and even share it.

But whatever else was true, he was the lawyer who legally approved that warrantless NSA program that the New York Times revealed that caused so much scandal. And he was part of the process that legalized the torture techniques used by the Bush administration. How can that possibly not disqualify him from running the FBI in the eyes of progressives who claimed to find all of that so atrocious and such an assault on all that is dear and good in the world?

But this is exactly where the Obama administration has taken us. Comey will run the FBI alongside Obama’s chief of the CIA, John Brennan, who spent the Bush years advocating multiple torture techniques and rendition. The Agent of Change reaches deep into the bowels of the Bush National Security State and empowers them to run two of the most powerful agencies. Then again, the Bush NSA program is hardly controversial in the Age of Obama: it was Obama who first voted to immunize the telecoms from all legal liability for their illegal participation in that program, then the Obama DOJ succeeded in having all lawsuits over that program dismissed on secrecy and immunity grounds, and then Obama himself succeeded in first enacting and then renewing the law that legalized most aspects of that Bush NSA eavesdropping program.

It’s one thing to watch Obama shield and protect all Bush officials who enabled this illegal warrantless domestic surveillance scheme. It’s quite another to watch him put in charge of the FBI the very official whose signature deemed it to be legal.

If you had told progressives in 2008 that the Bush lawyer who approved the NSA program would be named by Obama as the FBI Director, they would scoff in disbelief. Now they’ll cheer. That is what has changed.

I’d also like to point out that current FBI head, Robert Mueller, has been head of the Bureau for 12 years now.  The normal limit is 10 years, but Obama granted him an extension.  So think about this for a second.  The FBI has been headed by a Bush official for Obama’s entire tenure as President and he about to put another one in there.

There’s your change.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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