Bush ignored the law and Justice Department to continue domestic spying

James Comey
James Comey testifies (AP)

Call it another classic example of an out-of-control Presidential administration trampling the Constitution into the dust. It took the personal intervention of President George W. Bush in 2004 to circumvent the law, ignore the protests of his own Attorney General, and continue an illegal eavesdropping program that spied on Americans.

Even then Attorney General John Ashcroft knew what the President wanted to do was illegal and threatened to resign over the White House actions.

But Bush, as he has done so many times before and enabled by administration yes man Alberto Gonzales, put himself and his agenda above the law and proceeded, knowing that he could ride roughshod over the Constitution, stare down a cowardly Congress and ignore the inevitable court decisions that would fact his acts unconstitutional.

Writes David Johnston of The New York Times:

President Bush intervened in March 2004 to avert a crisis over the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program after Attorney General John Ashcroft, Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. and other senior Justice Department aides all threatened to resign, a former deputy attorney general testified Tuesday.

Mr. Bush quelled the revolt over the program’s legality by allowing it to continue without Justice Department approval, also directing department officials to take the necessary steps to bring it into compliance with the law, according to Congressional testimony by the former deputy attorney general, James B. Comey.

Although a conflict over the program had been disclosed in The New York Times, Mr. Comey provided a fuller account of the 48-hour drama, including, for the first time, Mr. Bush’s role, the threatened resignations and a race as Mr. Comey hurried to Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital sickbed to intercept White House officials, who were pushing for approval of the N.S.A. program.

Describing the events as “the most difficult of my professional career,” Mr. Comey appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of its inquiry into the dismissal of federal prosecutors and the role of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. Several lawmakers wanted to examine Mr. Gonzales’s actions in the N.S.A. matter, when he was White House counsel, and cited them to buttress their case that he should resign.

Mr. Comey, the former No. 2 official in the Justice Department, said the crisis began when he refused to sign a presidential order reauthorizing the program, which allowed monitoring of international telephone calls and e-mail of people inside the United States who were suspected of having terrorist ties. He said he made his decision after the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, based on an extensive review, concluded that the program did not comply with the law. At the time, Mr. Comey was acting attorney general because Mr. Ashcroft had been hospitalized for emergency gall bladder surgery.


  1. SEAL

    The american people won’t do anything until they are directly affected by the government’s abuses and can know longer maintain an acceptable standard of living. That’s why there is no military draft.

    Most of the people know enough of what is going on. They aren’t so dumb. But, as they see it, it isn’t having much of an impact upon them other than high gas prices. I go out and talk to people. Only one in ten supports Bush. The rest say he’s a liar and a thief and a dumbass. But he will be gone in two years. They just don’t see what goes on in politics as having any real effect on them.

    It’s the media that keeps them complacent.

  2. KayInMaine

    …when John Ashcroft got sick, so isn’t it “funny” that Gonzo is now the Attorney General! I bet Gonzo would have killed him if he had had the chance. Hey, Georgie & Gonzo will stop at nothing to keep Georgie & Dick’s evil agenda going and that damn Ashcroft was only getting in the way!

    Makes you wonder what was said to Rehnquist when he was on his death bed? Sick.


  3. justanothercoverup

    Another day, and another scandal widens as more evidence is provided to Congress. Has there been a week in the past few months where we haven’t heard of more illegal activities from the White House?

    What do George W. Bush and Cheney have to do to get impeached – actually kill someone in the White House? Or would that also be just another scandal, as the Executive grows more belligerent and powerful! What will it take for our cowardly Congress and the Republicans who keep fighting to keep Bush in office to relent and finally represent the American people?

    Our Democratic Republic is dying a slow death from the constant incompetence and war-mongering by the Bush administration, yet no one is attempting even basic CPR – instead choosing to place politics above the welfare of the people who voted them into office. Those who still support Bush in Congress have the same evidence we have, yet they still refuse to rein him in; if this was a bank robbery, those who aided and abetted him would also be charged and imprisoned, and quite honestly, I fail to see the difference!

    If our country survives until 2008 when Bush is finally out of office, IF he decides to leave without declaring Martial Law – his co-conspirators should also face the full force of the law. Isn’t treason still punishable by death?

  4. gene

    Above “Our Democratic Republic is dying a slow death” I agree it surely was dying (dieing) but I believe the tense is wrong……..its dead. The speed at which criminal behavior is ocurring daily at high levels of our corrupt government is absolutely incrediable.

    All three parts of our government have been infiltrated by evil criminal minds and the take over by (whoever or whatever…evil) is almost complete.

    I expect to see some incrediable events within the next few months. This “evil power” has exposed itself and is not going to hide its intentions anymore. Brain washed…brain dead americans will soon (like a herd of cattle) be led to the slaughter house.

  5. JerZGirl

    Just what is it going to take to take legal action against this presidency? This administration have all obviously broken multiple laws of this country and done so with arrogance and pride. How can lying about a sexual trist be a higher “crime and misdemeanor” than what this administration is doing? It seems to me that our Congress simply doesn’t want to do its job at all – it wants all the headlines, but doesn’t want to actually perform a duty that is obvious. Or is Nancy Pelosi simply afraid to be the first woman in the Oval Office (the result of impeaching both Bush and Cheney)? Maybe she prefers the position she now holds to the extent that she would rather do everything but hold impeachment hearings against BushCo that would mean she could become president. Regardless of this possibility, I think Congress is derelict in its duty in refusing to consider impeachment. She could always refuse to be president if that is her problem.

    Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.

    Wisdom is knowing not to put it in fruit salad.

  6. justanothercoverup

    This was an article I wrote on 4-25-07, and I believe it is a viable theory on why Pelosi won’t pursue Impeachment hearings against Bush and Cheney:

    Do the Democrats want to win the 2008 Presidential election? Of course they do, and unfortunately, that is a major reason Speaker Pelosi has taken “impeachment off the table.” It appears the Democrats are playing politics with our lives, knowing that if nothing changes course, Iraq will be in as bad, if not worse shape by the time the 2008 Presidential elections take place; If George W. Bush is still mired in Iraq, the Democrats can claim it was all his fault, which to a large part it is, and guarantee that a Democrat will win the elections in 2008.

    It’s actually a well thought-out strategy, however, Speaker Pelosi “assumes” that by 2008, we won’t be in a full-scale war with Iran – which would allow the Bush administration to declare Martial Law and effectively quash any further action by Congress – which would effectively halt any further elections until martial law (sic) was lifted. Further, the economic damage that Bush is subjecting the United States to has us on the path to bankruptcy – we are cutting vital educational programs, health care, you name it, and the people of America are suffering and paying for a war that our grandchildren will be indebted for at our current rate of spending. What about Social Security and Medicare? We are looking at the economic collapse of the country if we don’t step-in and stop the madness – and finally, Speaker Pelosi is being pressed hard to change her stance on impeachment:

    Pelosi pressed to put impeachment back on table

    04/25/2007 @ 8:27 am
    Filed by Michael Roston

    When the California Democratic Convention begins this weekend, party progressives both inside and outside the San Diego Convention Center will be pressing hard to bring impeachment back on the table as a means of holding the presidency of George W. Bush accountable for crimes they allege have been committed since 2001.

    “I’ve been blown away by the response. People are wanting to organize and rally behind one single thing at the convention, and that’s impeachment,” said Joye Swan of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, who is helping lead an effort to pass a resolution expressing the California Democratic Party’s support for impeaching President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

    But the fight will be complicated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unwillingness to hear their message and the encouragement that her stance may give opponents of the impeachment measure within the California Democratic Party leadership.

    Pro-impeachment actions planned

    The 2007 California Democratic Convention kicks off on Friday, and its agenda shows there is a lot of ground to cover. But a significant number of activists are eager to make the impeachment of the President a focal point of activity.

    “Be it Resolved, that George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrant impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States,” reads a resolution that Swan, a Democratic delegate from California’s 42nd Assembly District in Los Angeles, will introduce, with the hopes it will be adopted as the party’s position. LINK http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Californians_prepare_to_confront_Pelosi_Democrats_0425.html

    Speaker Pelosi further stated:

    “I totally oppose the impeachment of the President,” she explained to RAW STORY on Tuesday. “We have to use our energies to end this war. I don’t think the popular support is there for such a move, I don’t think we can get any Republican votes to move forward.”

    Pelosi added, “In some ways, it’s a wonderful advocacy piece for those who want to use it outside, to express rejection of the President’s policies, but from the standpoint of the time of the Congress of the United States, the American people are with us in ending the war and that’s what they want us to do.”

    I have to disagree with Speaker Pelosi, and I do believe the popular support IS there to successfully impeach Bush/Cheney – and once the nation is advised just how many Americans do support impeachment on both sides of the isle, the tide would turn drastically! The MSM does not express the true will of the people and actually plays-down the calls for impeachment that reverberate throughout the United States – and the Democrats are complicit in the deception of America, simply because right now, even they don’t want the Presidency!

    If Bush/Cheney were impeached simultaneously, Speaker Pelosi would ascend to the Presidency – and immediately be in charge of getting us out of Iraq. That in itself is the reason “impeachment if off the table” – because then “President Pelosi” would have to effectuate a redeployment of our troops in a manner that would have the least impact for the citizens of Iraq, and attempting to guarantee that our redeployment would not allow Iraq to fall into the hands of Al Queda.

    Bush hasn’t figured out how to correct the quagmire he created in Iraq, and neither have the Democrats; We know there will be an upsurge of sectarian violence when we leave, and which way the country will swing politically is anyone’s guess – but most analysts see the emergence of a government that is sympathetic, if not downright supportive of the Iranians.

    Iraq is not a situation that will rectify itself by the time the 2008 Presidential elections roll around, no matter who is in charge – and the Democrats fear they would be blamed for the carnage, effectively placing a Republican in the Presidency in 2008. It will take years if not decades to repair the damage the Bush administration has wrought upon America, and while the future may be rocky, the country is tired of “politics” and now we expect action – not broken promises or a failure to act because the future is so uncertain. The strategy is one of cowardice – refusing to accept the responsibility that America bestowed on the Democrats in the 2006 elections – and if Speaker Pelosi refuses to honor the will of the people, it’s possible that a Republican may still win in 2008, simply because the electorate is tired of broken promises and politicians that place “politics” above the welfare of “we the people” who voted them into their positions of leadership.

  7. Paolo

    This is why I have no faith that we’re going to somehow vote ourselves into a free society. The Democrats should be pushing aggressively for impeachment. But oh, no–that would be perceived as “extremist.”

    Impeachment, as viewed by the founders, was to be a weapon Congress could use regularly to keep a runaway executive in line. That’s why reasons for impeachment was left wide open: “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    Blatantly disregarding the privacy rights of citizens, not to mention the letter of the law, is an impeachable offense. If you let Bush get away with it, then everyone gets away with it.

    Of course, the Democrats realize they will someday be back in power, which is why they don’t challenge illegal eavesdropping. They want to be able to use that illegal power when it’s their turn.

    Folks, we need another revolution….


  8. Bill Jonke

    Need another revolution, insurrection, or what have you.

    Haven’t we all had enough?

    Time to get serious and let ol’ georgie know once and for all that he no longer can be like kid in a candy store, drunk with power and doing as he damned pleases.

    I would have thought that infringement of privacy would have gotten American citizens to speak up and act against this insane and corrupt administration, but laziness, apathy and greed still reign supreme here in America.

    So, folks, are we heading into martial law where the current village idiot and Mr. Cardiac Cocktail Addict is going to remain in control after 2009 and wreak even more havoc on our freedoms and stuff an even bigger pillow in our faces to smother us?

    You and your conscience have to decide that.

    This great nation that is hitherto being driven by fear by the GOP and Bush agitprop has an even bigger fear, whether we realize it or not, and that is of the trampling of the Constitution and almost daily infringement into our daily lives by an insanity driven cabal of cronies.

  9. April-May

    White House is a den of thieves. Demos can’t find their butts with both hands.

    NRA Distinguished Life Member

  10. Stoney13

    I mean C’MON PEOPLE!!!!! How long do we have to hear about this nut-job and his cabal of cronies ripping the heart out of this country before somebody actually gets off their asses and DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!!

    “Decider” my ass! Bush is no more a decider than I’m the Prince of Persia!!! He’s a divider, a destroyer, a despot, a dimwit, and a denouncer of the truth, but a decider he damn-sure ain’t!!!

    He makes Clinton look like a saint!!! Hell! He makes NIXON look like a saint!

    What’s it gonna take? A live boy, or a dead girl? Farm animals in the Lincoln Bedroom? Unabashed use of racial slurs? The entire Bush Administration getting their freak on in a San Fransisco bath-house? WHAT?????!!!!

    (Sigh!) I used to be disgusted! Now I’m just bemused!

    Stoney Browning

  11. gene

    Stoney13 above…excellent. I could not agree more. Read my above post prior to this one. From what I see everyday very few individuals in this country are aware of the seriousness of what we face with the current criminal gain of liers and murderers in the white house. Cheney is one of the most evil subhuman entity I have ever seen, Bush is second.

    It would take a massive revolt and most Americans giving a dam for something (other) than what their next purchase at BestBuy or walmart will be or this years vacation plan. To many are brain dead and they don’t want to hear the truth. They refuse to come out of their (soon to end) dream worlds.

    I was initially angry and disgusted as you and just like you now I am thourghly “bemused”

  12. Ardie

    “In order to achieve the most noble accomplishments, the leader may have to ‘enter into evil.’ This is the chilling insight that has made Machiavelli so feared, admired, and challenging. It is why we are drawn to him still.” — Michael A. Ledeen, leading neoconservative at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), advisor to President Bush’s political strategist Karl Rove (Machiavelli on Modern Leadership, 1999)

  13. long_rider

    Wonder why, with all the mounting evidence, no one is seriously trying to impeach the chimp, and the vp?

    What will it take to get this axis of evil out of our white house?