The Washington Post ran a story today on President Obama’s anticipated nomination of James Comey as FBI Director. These unauthorized “leaks” are usually trial balloons to see how well a plan might be received or how vociferously it might be opposed. This is good politics on Obama’s part as Comey is a Republican and not fully trusted by the civil liberties community.
I am using this blog to “rise in support” of Comey’s nomination. He was the key figure in blocking the efforts by the Bush White House (most probably with then Vice President Dick Cheney’s sponsorship) to get an incapacitated Attorney General Ashcroft to sign off on extending warrantless wiretapping.
There were a number of heroes that day who rose to defend the constitution and who lived up to the highest level of courageous followership. While I did not cite Comey by name in the video clip you can watch on this incident, it was he who was most energetic in thwarting the power play.
All the senior justice department and intelligent officers who refused to support the White House were loyal Republicans, making their actions toward the Republican White House all the more admirable.
President Bush was politically alert enough to reverse the policy when these courageous followers took their principled stance.
As a nation we are indebted to Comey, Ashcroft and their colleagues for recognizing the right thing to do and then doing it. It is a standard a future FBI Director must set and all government servants should follow.