Saturday, June 22, 2013

Slow Saturday Special: Obama's New FBI Guy

Not so new, but Comey along.... 

"White House announces appointee for FBI director

WASHINGTON — James B. Comey, a longtime prosecutor who put away gangsters, gunrunners, and terrorists before rising to deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush, will replace Robert S. Mueller III if confirmed by the Senate. With a 10-year term under law, Comey would be in place to outlast this president and possibly even the next one and steer the bureau into the next phase of its post-Sept. 11 evolution.

Comey is best known for a dramatic showdown in 2004 when he and Mueller, among others, refused to reauthorize an expiring NSA surveillance program because they believed that it had exceeded the president’s legal authority, and threatened to resign from the Bush administration if it were extended without their agreement. After a confrontation in the hospital room of an ailing John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, Bush acquiesced to their concerns.

Yeah, he seemed like he had a lot of promis once.

Missing print (after the article has been totally rewritten!):

and the program was later revived under a different legal theory. That episode came to define Coomey's tenure and clearly helped him win the job from a Democratic president....

So once again we have image and illusion over substance and result.

But Comey also authorized or supported other assertive policies during his tenure in Bush's Justice Department, and the prospect of his nomination has drawn criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and some liberal activists.

And they were already none to happy about the spying, as well they should be. I'm sure someone in the government was looking over their call logs and other communications.

Breaking NewsNew NSA Whistleblowers Say NSA Spied on US Service Members and Aid Workers 

That was five years ago.

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee that will consider his nomination, praised the choice. "Mr. Comey's experience on national security issues will be a benefit as the FBI continues to focus on preventing terrorism."

FBI prevents it by setting it all up! 

So what does the NSA have on you, Chuck?


"Comey did not object to the key element of the Bush administration’s program — the wiretapping of American citizens inside the United States without warrants. Instead, he focused on trying to curb a large data mining operation inside the United States, similar to the data mining programs at the center of the current controversy over the National Security Agency.... Comey “never expressed any concern” about the warrantless wiretapping program."

No wonder Obama wants him. 

And yes, the dat-mining has been going on for a long time, too.


More Comeying out about Obama's choice:

"Obama plans to nominate ex-Justice official to head FBI" by Nedra Pickler |  Associated Press, June 21, 2013

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Friday plans to nominate President George W. Bush’s former number two at the Justice Department, James Comey, to lead the FBI as the bureau grapples with privacy debates over a host of recently exposed investigative tactics.

Comey is perhaps best known for a remarkable 2004 standoff over a no-warrant wiretapping program at the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft. Comey rushed to the side of his bedridden boss to physically stop White House officials in their attempt to get an ailing Ashcroft to reauthorize the program.

Except they still got the program through.

If confirmed by the Senate, Comey would serve a 10-year tenure and replace Robert Mueller, who has held the job since the week before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Mueller is set to resign on Sept. 4 after overseeing the bureau’s transformation into one the country’s chief weapons against terrorism.

All instigated by FBI informants who provide the materials and encouragement. 

This is all getting so old I no longer want to comment. 

The White House said in a statement that Obama would announce his choice of Comey on Friday afternoon.

What's with the leak?

Comey, 52, was a federal prosecutor who severed for several years as the US attorney for the Southern District of New York before coming to Washington after the Sept. 11 attacks as deputy attorney general.

In recent years he has been an executive at defense company Lockheed Martin, general counsel to a hedge fund, board member at HSBC Holdings, and lecturer on national security law at Columbia Law School.

Oh, wow. He was on the board of a bank that laundered billions in Mexican drug cartel money, worked for a hedge fund and defense contractor, and was a propagandist at the college. 

And with him reporting to Holder who says banks are too big to jail.... sigh. This sucks. 

Obama couldn't have found anyone without so much baggage, or is the secret government now directing all actions (they got all his communications to, you know)?

The White House may hope that Comey’s Republican background and strong credentials will help him through Senate confirmation at a time when some of Obama’s nominees have been facing tough battles.

Oh, I wouldn't worry. Watch to see what passes and what doesn't. I guarantee you the agenda is going to get a huge shove now because all the politicians communications have been logged by the NSA.

Republicans have said they see no major obstacles to his confirmation, although he is certain to face tough questions about his hedge fund work, and how he would handle current, high-profile FBI investigations.

The FBI has faced questions in recent weeks over media leak probes involving the Associated Press and Fox News; the Boston Marathon bombings; the attack at Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans; and two vast government surveillance programs into phone records and online communications.

Wow, look, all the scandals rolled up into a sentence -- with no separate articles in my paper today save for the surveillance programs (pun intended).

Comey played a central role in holding up Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, one of the administration’s great controversies and an episode that focused attention on the administration’s controversial tactics in the war on terror.

In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007, Comey said he thought the no-warrant wiretapping program was so questionable that he refused to reauthorize it while serving as acting attorney general during Ashcroft’s hospitalization.

Did he misrepresent himself, because above I was told.... ?? 

Comey said when he learned that the White House chief of staff and counsel were heading to Ashcroft’s room despite his wife’s instructions that there be no visitors, Comey beat them there and watched as Ashcroft turned them away.

‘‘That night was probably the most difficult night of my professional life,’’ Comey testified. He said he and Ashcroft had reservations about the program’s legality, but he would not discuss details since the program was classified.

Senior government officials had expressed concerns about whether the NSA, which administered the warrantless eavesdropping program, had the proper oversight in place. Other concerns included whether any president possessed the legal and constitutional authority to authorize the program as it was carried out at the time.

I'm concerned NOW!


"Obama set to pick ex-Bush official as FBI boss" by Michael S. Schmidt |  New York Times, May 30, 2013

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to nominate James Comey, a former hedge fund executive and a former senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as the director of the FBI, according to a person with knowledge of the selection.

By choosing Comey, a Republican, Obama made a strong statement about bipartisanship at a time when he faces renewed criticism from Republicans in Congress and has had difficulty confirming some important nominees.

I'd say so. When are you going to get bipartisan about something we want and need?

At the same time, Comey’s role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Bush administration — in which he refused to acquiesce to White House aides and reauthorize a warrantless eavesdropping program when he was serving as acting attorney general — should make him an acceptable choice to Democrats.

It is not clear when Obama will announce the nomination.

Yeah, WHO LEAKED THIS????!!!!!

Senior FBI officials have feared that if the president did not name a new director by the beginning of June it would be difficult to get Comey confirmed by the beginning of September, when Mueller by law must leave his post....

In the 2004 hospital drama that defined Comey’s time in the Bush administration, the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, and Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., tried to persuade Attorney General John Ashcroft — who was ill and disoriented — to reauthorize a warrantless eavesdropping program.

Gonzalez never even charged let alone found guilty of attorney-gate or signing off on torture.

Comey, who was serving as the acting attorney general and had been tipped off that Gonzales and Card were trying to go around him, rushed to Ashcroft’s hospital room to thwart them. With Comey in the room, Ashcroft refused to reauthorize the program. After the episode, Bush agreed to make changes in the program, and Comey was widely praised for putting the law over politics.

Comey will inherit a bureau that is far different from the one Mueller took over a week before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In the aftermath, Mueller undertook the task of remaking the bureau into an intelligence and counterterrorism agency from one that had concentrated on white-collar crime and drugs....

And seven years later the banksters were busted by their criminal schemes -- as the FBI was instigating terror plots with informants supplying pathetic patsies.

But the bombings in Boston have raised questions about Mueller’s legacy as well as the effectiveness of the bureau’s counterterrorism efforts. While the FBI has been praised for helping to catch one of the suspected bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, congressional Republicans have raised questions about whether the bureau missed a chance to avert the attack. In 2011, it closed a file it had opened on the other suspected bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died after a shootout with the police that ended with his being run over by a vehicle driven by his escaping brother.

The cover story crapola narrative. 

Comey graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985, then had a meteoric rise at the Justice Department, culminating in his service as the department’s second-ranking official from 2003 to 2005.

His first job was as an assistant US attorney in Manhattan trying criminal cases. He worked briefly in private practice and went on to oversee the US attorney’s office in Richmond, where he made a name for himself as he pioneered Project Exile, a program that effectively cut the high homicide rate in the city by shifting firearm prosecutions from state court to federal court, where there were stiffer sentences.

While working in Richmond, Ashcroft asked Comey in 2001 to take over the government’s foundering investigation of the 1996 terrorist bombing at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American service members.

The FBI director at the time, Louis J. Freeh, had urged Ashcroft to take the case away from federal prosecutors in Washington who had been investigating for five years but had not brought charges.

With a legal deadline looming over them, Comey and a colleague rapidly moved the case forward and within three months indicted 14 men.

Comey’s work on that case caught the attention of the White House, which in November 2001 nominated him to become the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, one of the highest profile jobs in the Justice Department.

In that position, Comey oversaw the prosecutions of Martha Stewart, WorldCom executives, and international drug dealers.

When one looks back, at least the Bush Administration put a few corporate crooks behind bars.

Another disappointing change from Obomber.


"Obama to name Comey to top FBI post" by Nedra Pickler |  Associated Press, May 29, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Comey’s selection was first reported by NPR and was not expected to be announced for several days at least.

Took 'em three weeks.

Comey was deputy attorney general in 2005 when he unsuccessfully tried to limit tough interrogation tactics against suspected terrorists. He told then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that some of the practices were wrong and would damage the department’s reputation.

Some Democrats denounced those methods as torture, particularly the use of waterboarding, which produces the same sensation as drowning....

And then Holder came in and said it wasn't torture and the Democrats shut up.