1. Anonymous says:

    There is one other benefit, from Bush’s perspective, to announcing the investigation: it signals to Congressial Republicans that he is attacking and in so doing, tells them to circle the wagons before hearings start. There he might have more success- Pat Roberts knows what he has to do. I suspect Bush has enough IOUs from Specter to block any meaningful inquiries in the Judicial Committe, but I would like to be wrong.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anyone here remember the last episode of ST:TOS? The one where Kirk got body-switched with an old girlfriend who hated his guts and used the bodyswitch to take over the Enterprise?

    I’m thinking about the scene where â€Captain†Kirk is on the bridge, telling everyone that he’s arrested Whatsername (the woman Kirk is, er, stuck in) and how the ship is going to some Starbase for her trial; and the entire bridge crew, having realized the â€Captain†ain’t Kirk, sits back from the controls and refuses the orders; and how the â€Captain†calls them all mutineers and says they’re all under arrest and then has a complete mental breakdown.

    Bush’s moves re the NSA scandal remind me of that: losing control, lashing out, more and more feverishly.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well, we know Bush is a slow learner, but a whole year?

    Your observations are right on target.

    Wonderful: â€The accused doesn’t get to judge the jury.â€

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ah, but twelve angry persons can be called a â€conspiracy†and provide a rationale for a wide-ranging witchhunt, a la Joseph McCarthy.

  5. Anonymous says:


    Not if they demonstrably came forward independently. Bob Graham, after all (no idea if he really is a source for this), would have a difficult time conspiring with Comey, since they weren’t in the briefed group at the same time.

  6. Anonymous says:


    Do you really think that the Administration’s supporters will accept the possibility of independent actors in this drama? To the true believers the actions of the leakers define a conspiracy. I believe we will finally see if our institutions can survive an assault by real authoritarians. We had a chance with the end of the cold war to peel back the creeping power of the national security apparatus. Instead, the Administration has used it has a springboard towards establishing the foundation for a truly dictatorial regime. Those who don’t fear our current rulers really ought to imagine the powers that Bush seeks to appropriate for the Presidency in the hands of their own worst enemy.

  7. Anonymous says:

    this comment is not directly related to this post, but i have been thinking:

    to my mind there is something missing in this nsa scandal.

    terrorists are bad guys but they are not so bad, so numerous, or so effective as to demand bush extend nsa spying beyond the fisa rules.

    i keep wondering if there is not something else behind bush’s decision to expand the spying.


    i dont know. possibly preparing for the iraq war. possibly looking for european, u.n., or middle-eastern government oppositon to an iraq invasion.

    possibly looking at u.s. internal oppostion to the war.

    if bush could sit in crawford in august 2001 and read warnings of immenient terrorist action in the u.s. but still not act, it seems unlikely he would get so disturbed about terrorism that he would go beyond the fisa requirements just to get a bit more info.


    the bush administrations modus operandi is to use events like terrorism or katrina or the need for adequate medical care as an excuse or opportunity to expand their reach or powqer for other, ideiological, right wing policy purposes.

    i wonder if that m.o. applies here.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Don’t know. But I’m more concerned about those undecideds on this issue, the libertarian Republicans and Independents who are trying to figure out what to believe.

    My main point, though, is that Bush can only make a leaker into a Rosenberg figure if the person fights it, fears it. But these leakers don’t seem to have that fear. As I said, Comey’s involvement in this is just barely hidden at this point. Jay Rockefeller seems to have prepared for this onslaught when he wrote his memo. These leakers know what they’re up against. And they are taking that on deliberately.

  9. Anonymous says:


    I disagree to a certain extent. Yes, the actions of the individuals who will be attacked matter a great deal, but the actions of our other institutions matter just as much. The Congress is going to be under attack in the Abramoff matter (and in an election year, no less). The media are barely functioning. The fate of our democracy will likely depend on the strength of commitment to public service in the bureaucracy and judiciary. People are going to take great personal risks in the service of some pretty abstract concepts. If they aren’t supported by professional civil servants and judges, I fear it will be all for naught.

  10. Anonymous says:


    You may be right. I really hope you’re not. And in any case, I suspect Bush’s ploy here will not work as planned. My underlying point is, I suspect some of these people don’t give a damn what a court will do to them, they recognize that this is that important. In other words, it may matter more what the consciences of the electorate think than what our civil servents and judges.

  11. Anonymous says:

    On a related point, I was wondering how much of what we’re seeing from Bush might be bluster to prevent further leaks on unrelated subjects. If I’m BushCo, and I know I’ve alienated the civil service, then the most horrifying possibility, worse even than losing Iraq, is seeing the leaks from the civil service turn into a hemorrhage extending over three years. If you’re inclined to view the leak of Plame’s NOC status and the War on the CIA as deliberate hostile acts, then those would have been opening shots in this same battle: the battle to intimidate the underlings and keep them quiet. (Who leaked that business about the DoJ and DeLay’s redistricting anyway? We got a new Supreme Court case out of that.)

    Whether they’ve got the power to punish a leaker or not, they’ve sure got to act like they do. I have nothing else to offer on the subject and a lot I’d like to learn, but aside from their motivations that stem directly from the NSA case, I wanted to (re)draw our attention to a parallel motive to stop this thing from happening again. I’m certainly prepared to believe they’ve got a lot bigger secrets to hide than this.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This post — complete with WoO’s sage caveats — realy nails both the stakes of the game and identifies who the key players will be. I have to agree almost wholeheartedly with William’s comment that the outcome will depend on responsible, intrepid career civil servants and most significantly on the Article III crowd. The fallout will be a great test of the ’least dangerous branch’ — one of its greatest tests. I am very much hoping that Judge Luttig’s pushback against the Executive –tardy though it is — represents a (dare I use the term) turning point. (Among other things, as I read that latest turn in the Padilla case, it reads very much as a challenge to the Supremes, daring them to punt, reminding them that they alone will take the heat if they once again shirk their responsibility to decide the issue.) The only note of dissent against William’s gloomy presentiments that I will offer is this: the embattled-ness of Congress as well as the barely functioning-ness of the media might give at least a few voices in each arena some strength — as the corruption eating up both institutions has become sufficiently high-profile right now as to call for an effort to show that they really aren’t so hopelessly corrupted (witness the Times fessing up on the NSA eavesdropping, unless it was *solely* to prevent scoopage by Risen’s book).

  13. Anonymous says:

    Texas Dem

    To add to what you’re saying, I suspect it is not a mistake that the Brits tried to prevent the publication of the Uzbekistan torture memos (and succeeded in preventing the publication of the Bomb Al Jazeera memo) using the Official Secrets Act. These guys have been mirroring each other from day one, releasing â€intelligence†at the same time, attacking critics (David Kelly, Wilson) at the same time, conducting the same kind of whitewash after the fact. Somewhere Tony and Bush probably decided that if they take a hard line they can put the genie back in the bottle.

    It didn’t work with the Uzbek memos–and the leaker there is absolutely known. Craig Murray called their bluff and they have (so far, at least) flinched. Which is another reason I think their prosecution may backfire. If they create too many Craig Murrays, their credibility will really be shot.

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