George Bush PERSONALLY Sent Card and Gonzales to Thug Up Ashcroft

Bush Thug Life

by twolf1

Today’s IG Report on illegal wiretapping answers another previously unanswered question: who called Mrs. Ashcroft to tell her Andy Card and Alberto Gonzales were coming to the ICU ward to rough of John Ashcroft.

George Bush did so himself.

From the report:

According to notes from Ashcroft’s FBI security detail, at 6:20 PM that evening Card called the hospital and spoke with an agent in Ashcroft’s security detail, advising him that President Bush would be calling shortly to speak with Ashcroft. Ashcroft’s wife told the agent that Ashcroft would not accept the call. Ten minutes later, the agent called Ashcroft’s Chief of Staff David Ayres at DOJ to request that Ayres speak with Card about the President’s intention to call Ashcroft. The agent conveyed to Ayres Mrs. Ashcroft’s desire that no calls be made to Ashcroft for another day or two. However, at 6:5 PM, Card and the President called the hospital and, according to the agent’s notes, "insisted on speaking [with Attorney General Ashcroft]." According to the agent’s notes, Mrs. Ashcroft took the call from Card and the President and was informed that Gonzales and Card were coming to the hospital to see Ashcroft regarding a matter involving national security. (24) [my emphasis]

That use of the passive–almost the only incidence of its use in this report–is a nice touch. I guess five Inspectors General still don’t want to admit that the President of the United States personally led this kind of thuggery.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    It had to be either Bush or Cheney. Since it came through Gonzo rather than Addington, I assumed Bush. Nice to see someone finally admit it.

    Boxturtle (Geez, I leave for not even two hours and I’m three posts behind)

    • fatster says:

      Isn’t that the truth? When does she eat? When does she sleep? And I remember one time some months ago when she said, after her usual prodigious output for a few hours, that she was going to go can some tomatoes. !!!

  2. Slothrop says:

    “Mrs. Ashcroft, we know your husband is near death, but before he dies, we need him to help us cover our asses…”

  3. Slothrop says:

    “Mrs. Ashcroft, this is the President…could you check and see if he still has a pulse? Would you mind?”

  4. perris says:

    I wonder if bush/cheney/gonzales are being kept to date on their depravity exposed

    I wonder if the university can opt out of the civics class gonzales has been contracted to teach

  5. Valley Girl says:

    I’m having some kind of modified limited hangout flashback- I vaguely remember speculation (at the very least) here about who made the call, and I thought there was already good evidence that Bush made the call. So, I am not shocked. Surely either you ew, or Mary, nailed this a while back?

    • emptywheel says:

      The question was whether Bush did or Cheney. There was reason to believe that Card had made the call at the behest of Bush. But Bush AND Card were on the call, and given the use of the passive, I’m betting money BUsh was the one who told her his thugs were on tehir way over.

  6. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    The fact that Comey wouldn’t give more details back a few years ago made it seem quite likely that Bush made that call. And Ashcroft wasn’t simply ‘in the hospital’; he was in ICU (!!!).

    Mrs. Ashcroft took the call from Card and the President and was informed that Gonzales and Card were coming to the hospital to see Ashcroft regarding a matter involing national security.

    This stuff just makes my brain spin.

    • esseff44 says:

      It’s not often that a stuffy IG report reads like a Hollywood script for a suspense thriller spy movie.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Yeah, but arguably it’s closer to True Crime than thriller at this point.

        It does have that quality of… ‘how many shoes will fall today (and from how high…)…?!’ sensibility to it.

        Doesn’t speak at all well for either GHWB nor Babs Bush, now, does it? (ahem.)

  7. bobschacht says:

    Thanks for this blizzard of posts!
    But really, you should use spell-check more often. Today alone about half a dozen typos, most easily understood, and all would have been caught by spell-check.

    Of course, if you’d stopped to spell check, you might not have scooped Ari Shapiro.


    Bob in HI

    • emptywheel says:

      True–though they’re mostly transcription problems copied from the working thread. If only the damn IGs would release their reports in text format…

      I think I cleaned them up.

  8. KagroX says:

    That means it was Bush himself (as we’ve long suspected) who personally set off the chain of events that led Comey to call Muller to make sure there were armed FBI agents on hand to protect the Attorney General of the United States from Bush’s men.

    But of course, Kit Bond says that if we prosecute anyone for any of this goddamn nonsense, it’s then that we’ll turn into a “banana republic.”

  9. Teddy Partridge says:

    Here’s my speculation: Card placed the call, put Bush on the line, and walked out the door to get Gonzo and head out. Bush could then say “they are on their way, Mrs Ashcroft, and they must see your husband.” The bullying of an enfeebled subordinate’ wife is so in character it’s creepy.

  10. Civlibertarian says:

    Once again, “national security” or “state secret” is the excuse when the real reason is CYA or avoid embarrassment.

  11. fatster says:

    O/T: More stuff coming out. What a day this has been!

    U.S. Said to Have Averted Inquiry Into ’01 Afghan Killings

    Published: July 10, 2009

    WASHINGTON — “After a mass killing of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Taliban prisoners of war by the forces of an American-backed warlord during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, Bush administration officials repeatedly discouraged efforts to investigate the episode, according to government officials and human rights organizations.

    “American officials had been reluctant to pursue an investigation — sought by officials from the F.B.I., the State Department, the Red Cross and human rights groups — because the warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, was on the payroll of the C.I.A. and his militia worked closely with United States Special Forces in 2001, several officials said.


    • emptywheel says:

      Working on that one.

      But one thing that you should know right away is that the NYT has been sitting on that story and apparently buried it in the Saturday news black hole purposely.

        • Mary says:

          Dostum’s involvement and things that sprang from it really paint the picture of what Cheney meant by opting for evil the Dark Side.

          Back in December, leading up to Obama coming into office, everyone was raising holy hell that Dostum was digging up and destroying his war crimes evidence. A McClatchey story from then here.

          So Risen is playing it pretty damn milde and disingenuous with this:

          While a dozen or so bodies were examined and several were autopsied, a full exhumation was never performed, and human rights groups are concerned that evidence has been destroyed.

          Been nice to have seen headlines at the time from a NYT or WaPo, along with some editorials calling for the US to have its troops up the road secure the site instead of dutifully look the other way.

          And you know, Dostum didn’t *just* put those guys in a container and leave them to die. He went to the trouble of transporting the containers to the prison near him – one where I think you might find that the CIA was paying “bounties.” Be nice to know if Dostum got paid for what he turned over, or only the live ones, or not at all.

          From my McClatchey link:

          However, the fact that U.S. special forces and CIA operatives were working closely with Dostum in late 2001, when the killings took place, has fueled suspicions that the warlord got a free pass.

          And there was Bush, going around chortling over guys who were never going to cause us anymore trouble – think he ever got a PDB on Dostum? I’d say it’s almost a sure thing, because of who some of the survivors were, if nothing else.

          Bc along with the CIA having an “oh shit, sealed containers full of dead guys” moment when Dostum’s baggage arrived at the prison and he asked for payment there was the hugely unfortunate fact that three or so of the survivors spoke English. REal well. Better than most Americans, as a matter of fact, being British and all …

          Sure was a lucky thing for everyone concerned that they were immediately enhancedly interrogated into confessing they they all just happened to be the previously unidentified men in a picture with Bin Laden. WhooEeee. Good thing they were “unlawful enemy combatants” to whom no rules applaed and who you could disappear to GITMO real fast.

          Kinda too bad, when MI5 later had to fess up that there was no friggin way in hell they could be the guys in the picture.

          Viva la torture confessions. Or not.

          It helps to keep in mind that Dostum fought with the Soviets originally as well and already was in the War Crimes que. He’s a walking, talking demonstration of how when the “mission” became rounding up anyone we could based on a guy like Dostum’s word, and paying him for it as well, we were pretty well destined to have a disaster.

          • Aeon says:

            Thanks, that’s how I remember you telling the story.

            OT, but apropos of our several discussions of covert action and presidential findings, Steve Aftergood has obtained and posted a CRS report entitled Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options for Congress, July 7, 2009. The link to the paper is at his blog post above. It is a 15 page pdf and well worth a gander.

  12. Mary says:

    This part doesn’t seem to jive exactly with the Comey/Goldsmith “fixing” of the program:

    Comey said that following the briefing, President Bush called him into the President’s private study for an “unscheduled meeting.” Comey told the President of DOJ’s legal concerns regarding the [President’s Surveillance Program]. According to Comey, the President’s response indicated that he had not been fully informed of these concerns. Comey told the President that the President’s staff had been advised of these issues “for weeks.” According to Comey, the President said that he just needed until May 6 (the date of the next Authorization) and that if he could not get Congress to fix FISA by then he would shut down the program. The President emphasized the importance of the program and that it “saves lives.”

    emph added

    • Civlibertarian says:

      Zachary Roth at TPM notes that description from p. 28 of the March 12 private meeting between Comey and Bush and writes as if it’s new info.

      But I seem to recall having heard of that private meeting before, and even of Bush being surprised by Comey’s concerns.

      • emptywheel says:

        Comey’s implication was always that it took a face-to-face with Bush to get heard, and he wasn’t in some of the other key meetings. But this is new level of detail.

        • MadDog says:

          Agreed! Bart Gellman’s Angler had as much of the private meeting info between Comey and Bush as anyone, but not as detailed as this.

        • Civlibertarian says:

          (EW @ 35, MadDog @ 39, Mary @ 42)

          Thanks for the info. That was my impression, that the details were new.

          TPM’s piece (Was Bush Kept In The Dark On DOJ Concerns About Surveillance?) doesn’t talk about the May 6 deadline or shutting down the program, which seems new to me. Instead the TPM bit focuses on

          …the President’s response indicated that he had not been fully informed of these concerns. Comey told the President that the President’s staff had been advised of these issues “for weeks.”

          MadDog, thanks, you seem to be corroborating my impression that we knew this, although the specific “for weeks” might be new.

          Although I do want to know which advisors weren’t passing along Comey’s concerns, my main impression of the TPM piece was that by overlooking the new details like the May 6 deadline it kind of misses the point.

          • esseff44 says:

            I do not get the feeling that GWB was kept in the dark. I get the feeling he did not care about the legality. He pulled Comey and Mueller in separately on the morning after he realized he couldn’t get Ashcroft to sign and it would not have been valid if he had since he was not AG due to incapacitation. He was using the ‘it saves lives’ line to get them to give it a pass regardless of legality. When he realized they were ready to resign, he agreed to drop the part of the program they had the biggest objections to in order to keep the rest.

            My question is were the programs actually dropped? Could these programs be the same programs that are the subject of Panetta’s report to the House Committee this last week that caused such a blowup? They both have to do with ‘intelligence collection’ and they both seem to be out of bounds…so much so that Panetta wasn’t told for five months and as soon as he was, he reported to the astonishment of the committee or at least a large part of the committee.

            • MarkH says:

              Imagine if those programs were related to a country with which we have tense relations and if that burst into a conflict because of the secret programs.

              It could have been, possibly has been disastrous.

      • Mary says:

        We knew about the meeting, but my take away from the Palace Revolt descriptions and the Comey testimony was that DOJ was going to “fix” the program to be less illegal; not that Bush was going to use a 30 day or so horizon to either get Congress to approve the program or shut it down.

    • emptywheel says:

      They say later on that they stopped that part of the program.

      And they also say there’s some cheap quality land in Florida available for purchase, cheap.

      • Mary says:

        As long as there’s some other part of another program for it to go live with, I guess I won’t be worried about the little orphan program, abandoned and all.

  13. NCDem says:

    EW, I would interested in your take on the disclosure that the March 11 re-authorization that was signed by Alberto and Bush was different in a couple of ways. One refers to “other intelligence activities” that they felt needed to be included to cover their a–. Evidently the prior authorizations had not included these “other activities” and yet now DOJ knew about these activities and Comey and staff were not willing to sign off on it. This comes from page 30 first paragraph of section E.

    It makes it appear as if all the times Ashcroft had signed before, he may not have really known what Cheney and Bush were really up to. Your thoughts.

    • emptywheel says:

      Writing a post on it.

      The part that hadn’t been covered before was the data mining, which would violate EFPA and–I’m increasingly convinced–Congress’ defunding of TIA in 2003. Apparently, the Yoo memo we haven’t gotten yet doesn’t adequately describe what was involved in teh data mining (just like the Yoo memo on torture, I point out in the working thread).

      So Bush had to include that to cover the stuff that Goldsmith and Comey said hadn’t been covered.

      • bmaz says:


        And “cover the stuff that Goldsmith and Comey said hadn’t been covered” could be summarized as their asses.

      • NCDem says:

        The interesting part is that by including this “extra intelligence activity” and the greater emphasis on Article II powers as a reason for moving forward, it basically lets everyone know that he had been lying to Ashcroft about this program all along.

        If a President and VP would have the AG to sign off on a program that was probably illegal all along and then be carrying out more illegal crimes without his knowledge, he should have pulled the plug on them right then. They put a knife in his back and Ashcroft doesn’t speak!

    • MadDog says:

      From Footnote 17 on page 30:

      The DOJ OIG determined that this statement subsequently was removed from future Authorizations after Ashcroft complained to Gonzales that the statement was “inappropriate.” In a May 20, 2004 memorandum, Ashcroft wrote that it was not until Philbin and later Goldsmith explained to him that aspects of the NSA’s Other Intelligence Activities were not accurately described in the prior Authorizations taht he realized that he had been certifying the Authorizations prior to March 2004 based on a misimpression of those activities.

      (My Bold)

      My, my. Such a lovely word is misimpression.

      Sure beats the hell out of using the word lie now, doesn’t it?

      Who knew the DOJ OIG was so erudite?

  14. NCDem says:

    EW, also read the footnote #17. It basically says Ashcroft got a spine and showed that he was upset that the President had been pulling the wool over him on previous authorizations. I liked this footnote.

  15. sojourner says:

    Just as an aside on this — we have often speculated about why Congress rolled over and played dead in so many ways, despite evidence that Bush and Cheney were simply doing as they pleased. With the release of the IG report today regarding warrantless wiretapping, we have evidence that there was a lot more going on besides listening in on terrorists…

    My intuition says that someone gathered the goods on a lot of senators and congressmen… As the old saying goes, “When you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

    Do I hear a fat lady singing? (Please note that I am pretty heavy myself, so nothing derogatory intended…)

    • sunshine says:

      When cheney was searching for a vp for bushy he always asked candiates to tell him their deep dark secrets so he could decide if that persons secrets would be too damaging to run as vp. Cheney interviewed some one even after cheney decided that he would run as vp. Can’t remember who that interview was with but I remember the guy that was interviewed was madder than heck when he found out that cheney had already chose himself as vp and he had given up his darkest secrets. Digging up dirt on those of his own party like that, what lengths did cheney go through to dig up dirt on the Dems? I believe he would do anything. Also, wonder who was on cheney’s secret army list.

      Michael Connell?
      DC Madam?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Sunshine, re: the part of your comment where you try to recall who Cheney basically sabotaged in his role as the person ‘assisting’ GWBush to find a VP:

        Bart Gellman’s Angler, Chpt 1: “A Very Short List” reports the following individuals:
        1. Frank Keating, ..the first Republican to break the Oklahoma jinx on reelection…56 years old, telegenic, and going places…[he’d been OK Gov when] terrorists in a Ryder van blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building [in 1995]…had friendly bets with GWBush over the Sooners-Longhorns games…Keating had vouched for Bush with right-to-lifers and had been an early endorser of GWBush for Pres…

        p. 3: “I want you to know the [list of VP candidates for GWBush is very short,” Cheney [told Keating]. People would talk about all kinds of names, Cheney said matter-of-factly, but most of them would be decoys. Three, maybe four, were genuine…. “Keating knew Cheney, trusted him. He had helped recruit Cheney five years before to chair the memorial committee for the Oklahoma City bombings…”


        p. 4: “Two states east in TN, Lamar Alexander got word that Cheney was looking for him…he had made up his mind to skip the GOP convention in July… [Alexander had been in the Cabinet of Bush41, along with Cheney]…”

        p. 5: “…Alexander did have one question. What should he tell reporters?… “Of course we want to keep this private,” Cheney said. But he added: “Confirm that you’re a candidate. Tell them you’re filling out the questionnaire.”

        Bill Frist and Tom Ridge, John Engler and John Kasich, Chuck Hagel and John Danforth and John Kyl — they all got similar calls and similar instructions…

        p. 7: “Only three people were privy to the dossiers that Cheney assembled. One was his older daughter, Liz Cheney**, thirty-three… Another was David J Gribben III, a loyal retainer since high school… The third was David Addington…”


        Bart Gellman’s book is one hell of a read, I’ll say that for it.
        But look at the range of GOP illuminati who got treated like dirt by Cheney, his 33-year-old daughter, Addington, and Cheney’s long-time high school pal.

        ** Yes, the same Liz Cheney who was all over the chat programs in April-May 2009 defending her father and claiming that the Torture Memos should not be released. And who, under BushCheney was given a veritable carte blanche overseeing a swath of the Dept of State that included the geographical regions of the Near East and areas around the Caspian Sea. Interesting coincidence, eh?

  16. tbsa says:

    Wish I could say I’m shocked.

    twolf1, thanks for the laugh the photo is absolutely hilarious.

  17. Pat2 says:

    Thank you for continually and thoroughly forcing the light to shine, especially in the corners where others wish it wouldn’t.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yeah, I was going to whine about twolf1’s image.
      It wasn’t enough that twolf1 polluted our brains with that image of porcine Rove eating grapes…? NOW we have to see this?!

  18. Twain says:

    Mrs. Ashcroft should have called hospital security and had them face down these criminals.

    Bush looking good in a doo-rag.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      There were FBI agents stationed right outside Ashcroft’s hospital room door, IIRC. Which is why the whole thing is so depraved.

      (The hospital staff would have been helpless to intervene against a ‘US President’. Which IMHO is more reason to respect Peggy Ashcroft — she had to really go ‘above and beyond’ to look out for her spouse when he was surely in a very tenuous state. She’d already sent out signals that her husband was in critical condition; obviously, his medical staff thought he still needed to be in ICU. I think a lot of people would have caved to ‘the President’, so I greatly admire what she did.)

      • Twain says:

        I wasn’t insulting Mrs. Ashcroft. If we live in a country where someone in ICU can’t be protected from visitors (of any sort) then we are in real trouble. I just meant that if she had called security it might have gotten notice and gone public.

      • esseff44 says:

        I am guessing Mrs. Ashcroft or one of the agents with her in the ICU called Ayers at DOJ to let him know that she was told that Card and Gonzalez were on their way to his room on the orders of the president in spite of her telling them his condition. Then, Ayers told Comey and Comey went on red alert. The IG report is a little vague on that point although it is pretty detailed on other points. I think her concern was more protecting her husband’s health than concerns about the battle royale between DOJ and the WH OLC/ GWB.

        It’s Director Mueller who looks better and better along with Comey and the other DOJ lawyers who refused to go along with illegal activities sanctioned by the WH and previous WH tools in DOJ.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, well, they don’t look all that good because the program kept plugging on in a completely illegal state despite their “heroism”. The “Comey Fix” wasn’t shit and did not remove the illegality; it just covered asses a little better. So i am not all that prepared to discuss how good these jackals are looking.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I think her concern was more protecting her husband’s health than concerns about the battle royale between DOJ and the WH OLC/ GWB.

          It’s Director Mueller who looks better and better along with Comey and the other DOJ lawyers who refused to go along with illegal activities sanctioned by the WH and previous WH tools in DOJ.

          Completely agree. And note what MadDog points out @77.

          Five key CheneyBots don’t talk to the IG?!
          Wussup wit dat?

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Actually, I did see those comments.
              But I thought — evidently in error — that IGs did have subpoena power.

              Wow, I knew things were bad, but this is ridiculous.
              No IG ever has power to subpoena the people they’re supposed to investigate?!

              Sorry to be so stupid.
              Wow, do I feel like a dolt.

              As for MadDog – yeah, twolf1 could really shine up Yahoo ;-))

  19. JimWhite says:

    Okay, I’m trying to wade through the posts, but one point sticks out to me. Why on earth were Addington, Yoo, Ashcroft, Card and Tenet allowed to “refuse” to be questioned by the IG’s? Especially Addington, as he would still have been a gummint employee at the time of the interviews.

  20. JimWhite says:

    For a good laugh, check out the main Yahoo news page before it changes. The main headline says the report called Bush’s surveillance program “massive”. For a picture, they have Bush holding his hands up like he’s talking about a big fish he caught. It’s hilarious.

    How big was it, George?

  21. MadDog says:

    Five Bush/Cheney Administration officials refused to be interviewed by the IGs.

    These were: Ashcroft, Yoo, former CIA Director George Tenet, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and David Addington, an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

    So the obvious question arises: did the IGs interview Bush and Cheney?

    It would have been nice if the IGs listed those that were interviewed, but perhaps that type of information is in the classified version.

  22. tjbs says:

    No matter how you feel about gwb, you have to admit he had a talent to bring out the absolute worst in those that worked closest to him. The dick cheney made possible being one example.

  23. questioneverything says:

    Why do I, sitting out here in America, know that this report starts to get at the truth. I also know that Obama would not have been elected if he hadn’t taken some kind of deal to NOT investigate just this.

    We need new everything, starting with campaign finance reform. We will not get it.

  24. esseff44 says:

    Why do I, sitting out here in America, know that this report starts to get at the truth. I also know that Obama would not have been elected if he hadn’t taken some kind of deal to NOT investigate just this.

    I have had some of the same thoughts about his determination to ‘not look back, only forward’ when it comes to sins/crimes/abuses committed by his predecessors. Plus, he’s found it’s pretty cool to have such tools and weapons and how tempting they are to use. Don’t worry if they are illegal, you can just make the same deal with the next crew to move in.

    He may have problems with Nancy Pelosi and a few others. She is not going to take it lightly that they are trying to push the blame for some of this crap on to her saying she knew about it and did not object. She will find a way to get more of this out. Panetta is in a tough spot. He’s the one I feel sorry for right now. He’s caught in the middle of multi-directional poo-flinging fight that just getting started.

    • MarkH says:

      in the middle of multi-directional poo-flinging fight

      Good phrase! May I quote you some time?

      I don’t think the stuff you’re referring to will be all that messy. A couple of months ago it may have looked that way, but now I think everyone sees there’s a major intelligence problem which has to be solved and it’s effects accounted for. That should trump most parochial interests. Plus, it seems to me that today, in many ways, everything seems right in the world. I hope it stays that way for a while.

    • matutinal says:

      I don’t feel much condolence for Panetta. He’s been a full-on political operative for many years now, implementing without question whatever his boss at the time needs done. And if he’s half as smart as his suits he would have known before starting that the CIA has never been about gathering intelligence but about black ops, massive politial payoffs to foreign countries, and secret paramilitary operations.

  25. RevBev says:

    Re: Moyers…all the Congress folks should have to see the Moyers conversation….talk about the corporate bureaucrat being between patient/doctor; the for profit insurers adding to the roles of uninsured by rescinding coverage, etc.

    • JThomason says:

      Howard Dean was pounding this point before the … well…shall I just call it the media assassination.

  26. Hmmm says:

    Sorry if this has been asked/answered already, but: What, exactly, happened on June 24 to bring the CIA undisclosed program to Panetta’s attention? Do we know?

    • esseff44 says:

      There very well could be an intersection of these two events: the release of the IG report and Panetta’s learning of a program that should have been reported to Congress and wasn’t after he had made a big point of saying that the CIA did not have a policy or practice of misleading Congress.

      Feingold has made some remarks about the programs and I expect to hear more from him.

      I have a feeling that the programs that were supposedly curtailed or dropped to satisfy the demands of Comey and Mueller were continued as before without approval of DOJ under a secret finding of GWB and without the required reporting to Congress. We could guess that Cheney, Addington, Tenet, Gonzalez, Haydn knew and few others.

      • Hmmm says:

        I wonder whether the information about the existence of the other programs might have bubbled up to Panetta when he, or one of his less polluted underlings, read the still-secret draft of the IGs’ report and asked the same kinds of really rather obvious questions that we have been asking today. Would June 24 have been about right for that?

        • esseff44 says:

          Certainly Panetta would have gotten a copy of the unclassified version of the IG report and he would have access to the unclassified version of the IG CIA portion that went into the 5 agency compilation.

          He’s going to be on the spot and questioned as to what otheractivities have not been reported to Congress that they should have known about. Obama is going to have a lot of tough questions waiting for him when he gets back from Africa.

          • Hmmm says:

            I suppose it’s possible that Obama gave Panetta initial marching orders to of course try hard to avoid ever letting anything big get out, but also that if there was something big that was unstoppably going to come out anyway, that he (Panetta) should get out in front of it, rather than get caught reacting to it after the fact. Especially if it gave a relatively blameless way to help hold the Bushies accountable.

            I realize what a stretch that is, but it might fit what we’re seeing.

  27. Hmmm says:

    Also, too, as well: What is the upshot of the IGs’ report? Grand Juries and/or crim indictments on the horizon?

  28. emptywheel says:

    Upshot: We get a few new details we didn’t know. AGAG narrowly gets off a finding that he intentionally lied to COngress. And a lot of the rest remains classified.

      • MadDog says:

        Oh, and the program is still going on just fine, thank you very much!

        Something to tell one’s grandchildren:

        “I remember when we had a 4th Amendment and the government had to get a warrant to spy on us.”

        “Jimimy crickets Gramps. Are these cells always so small? I sure hope they don’t serve us bologna sandwiches for lunch again ’cause it always give us inmates gas. Pee-yoooo!”

  29. Hmmm says:

    So only time will tell whether this is a dead end, vs. new breadcrumbs in a fruitful trail…?

  30. joanneleon says:

    This hospital story has been stuck in my craw for a long time. Comey’s reaction and actions are the main reason why. For the first time in his career he used the flashing light on the car as he raced to the hospital to help protect Ashcroft.

    So now we know it was Bush on the phone. Why did Comey react the way he did? (I know we’ve speculated this a lot in the past, but now we know it was Bush on the phone).

    Was Bush throwing a huge fit? My speculation: Duh. After Mrs. Ashcroft refused to let him speak to the AG, he probably just escalated his already inflamed mood. He’s known for those tantrums. People were telling him “No”.

    Was he irrational?

    All of this happened in the evening.

    Even so, Muller responded too. Comey had armed agents *protecting* Ashcroft. AGAG and Card don’t strike me as particularly thuggish guys.

    There’s still something missing from this story, IMHO. But the fact that we now know it was Bush on the phone does change some of the scenarios I’d thought of.

      • joanneleon says:

        That could have been a factor but not necessarily booze. Other substances? Extreme fear? Paranoia? Rage? We’re not talking about a person with a stable personality so it could have been any one of a number of things.

        I still don’t count Cheney out. He was known to be one who could manipulate Bush. And he’s a fear monger.

        The extreme urgency of it all makes me wonder if Bush was irrational at that time. The insistence that the approval be done immediately, the great rush to guard Ashcroft and to get to the hospital, etc.

    • esseff44 says:

      A memo was sent to Gonzalez and Card and one would assume to Bush as well that Comey had been named as acting AG while Ashcroft was incapacitated. Yet, they claimed they didn’t know that when days later they made the dash to the ICU to get Ashcroft’s signature. Really? The WH would not know who the acting AG was? Pull the other one, whydoncha.

    • jumpinjack says:

      For me, the part of the hospital story that is most stunning is that Comey wanted his FBI agents ARMED WITH GUNS to stop what was going on. Armed with guns to repel the POTUS’ COS and WH Counsel.

      I cannot imagine any domestic situation having higher stakes than this.

      I thinks this specific action SCREAMS something HUGE. Armed Federal agents vs. POTUS?????


      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Well, I guess that I assumed FBI agents were always armed.
        So your observation never would have crossed my mind.

        • jumpinjack says:

          I think it is a VERY safe assumption that FBI agents are always armed. Especially when on guard duty.

          So then why did Comey make such a big deal about it?????

          See where I’m going?

  31. Hmmm says:

    Welp, fear is great motivator and source of irrationality. What exactly did W have to be dreadful afeared of that night?

  32. Blub says:

    ironically, by all indications, shrub’s frequent vacations were sacred and staff would disturb him at their peril….. but if you’re on your sick bed and he needs you do to something illegal for him, you get his thugs in your face. What a guy.