Vice President Blocks AG Appointment Over Wire Taps?
Does this mean Taps for Cheney, Card, and Gonzales? Time will tell. Now for a Special Prosecutor? We Hope! Biased news By Onetime Republican, Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo!
Vice President Blocks AG Appointment Over Wire Taps?
Vice President Richard Cheney apparently blocked the promotion of a Justice Department official who opposed President Bush's eavesdropping program, a Senate committee learned yesterday.
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said The Vice President notified Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that he opposed the promotion of Patrick Philbin who once threatened to resign over the wiretap program. It is not clear to me if Mr. Phibin is any relation to the famous American Super Spy of the Post WW II era.
Subsequently, Gonzales did not try to promote Patrick Philbin to the vacant position of Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Comey reported.
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey wrote, "I understood that someone at the White House communicated to Attorney General Gonzales that the vice president would oppose the appointment if the attorney general pursued the matter. The Attorney General (Gonzales) chose not to pursue it."
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey was responding to printed questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy Independent, Vermont.
Mr. Comey's comments corroborate the wide-ranging story of how the White House influenced the department's hiring practices.
The department also released 39 new pages of internal e-mails and documents, which may shed brighter light on attempts by the department's former White House liaison, Monica Goodling. In rather starling inside jargon, an e-mail of January 2006, which appears to be attempting to establish or finalize authority in the hiring and firing of political staffers, appeared from Ms Goodling.
Goodling wrote in a Jan. 19, 2006, e-mail to Paul Corts, the assistant attorney general for administration, "Ok to send up directly to me, outside of system."
The Democrats' are investigating if the firings of eight U.S. attorneys were improperly political. That is what led to testimony in May in which Comey disclosed details the now famous hospital visit March 10, 2004, to the then John Ashcroft Attorney General.
Democrats contend the story shows the White House's hands-on and perhaps improper influence, micro-managing Justice Department hiring, including overseeing the National Security Agency's eavesdropping program.
Senator Chuck Schumer, Dem-New York, leading the Senate's investigation, said, "Mr. Comey has confirmed what we suspected for a while that White House hands guided Justice Department business. The vice president's fingerprints are all over the effort to strong-arm Justice on the NSA program."
Philbin and another Justice Department official led a review and research of the classified program by which Comey, acting with great integrity refused to endorse it.
In a March 9, 2004, meeting at the White House, Comey informed Vice President Cheney that he, Comey, would not certify the program, Comey stated in his written remarks Yesterday (June 6th, Wednesday). A Cheney spokesperson, Lea Anne McBride, refused to respond, alluding to the administration's policy of never commenting on personnel matters.
When Ashcroft was stricken with pancreatitis, he transferred the powers of his office to Comey, Ashcroft's deputy. Comey said that he and Ashcroft subsequently refused to recertify the legality of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program (for reasons that are classified).
The then White House Counsel Gonzales and Bush's chief of staff, Andy Card, the next evening appeared at the intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital, at Ashcroft's bedside. Having been informed of the planned visit by Card, Comey and his aide's beat to the room where Gonzales attempted convince Ashcroft to recertify the program. Comey said a few weeks ago that Ashcroft, had just gotten out of gall bladder surgery, and was weak and only half his usual brightness, but, nonetheless, staunchly refused to recertify the program-three cheers for Ashcroft, an unexpected hero.
The White House then, unilaterally, as is their questionable practice, recertified the program sans the endorsement of the department. Comey, Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Philbin and other department officials prepared and were ready to turn in their resignations. Bush, Facing a mass strike of his highest-ranking Justice Department officers, relented and made suggested changes in the eavesdropping program in order to gain the approval Comey and Mueller.
Comey said that, later Philbin was considered for a promotion to be Principal Deputy Solicitor General - Lieutenant to the lawyer representing the government at the Supreme Court.
In his written, remarks, Comey said, "It was my understanding that the vice president's office blocked that appointment."
Whether or not any of this will lead to indictments without appointing a Special Prosecutor, in open to question, but I for one would applaud the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to chase down the crimes of this administration ASAP!
Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo Social Media Pages:
Professor Bagnolo has majored in: Cultural Anthropology, Architectural design, painting, creative writing. As a child prodigy, abed with polio for almost two years, he was offered an opportunity to skip three grades at age 8. Later He was a (more...)