Dispatches from the Creation Wars

An article in Newsweek has more information on that showdown between the top DOJ officials and the White House over what everyone presumes was the NSA wiretapping program. Seems the revolt was quite broad at the DOJ:

Appalled by the White House’s heavy-handed attempt to coerce the gravely ill attorney general, virtually the entire top leadership of the Justice Department is threatening to resign. The group includes the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum and the chief of the Criminal Division, Chris Wray. Some of them gather in the conference room of Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who describes Ashcroft’s bravely turning away the president’s men from his hospital bed. The mood that night in the conference room was tense–and sober. “This was a showdown,” says a former senior Justice Department official who was there. “Everybody understood the choice they were making and the gravity of the situation. Everybody knew what the stakes were.” A different source estimated that as many as 30 top DOJ officials would have resigned.

It does make me feel better that there are at least some in government – and the DOJ is exactly where one would hope they would be – who have a little integrity left.


  1. #1 Herb
    May 29, 2007

    I don’t quite understand why people in these situations resign. That leaves holes that people with less integrity will fill. You see the same thing with scientists – when the administration distorts or supresses honest research, government scientists get pissed and resign, perhaps to be replaced by scientists who will play ball. Why not stay and fight? I suppose they’d just get fired eventually…

  2. #2 Jim Lippard
    May 29, 2007

    If there had a mass resignation that included the AG, Deputy AG, head of the FBI, and a couple dozen other senior DOJ officials in 2003, would Bush have been re-elected in 2004?

  3. #3 Kevin
    May 29, 2007

    But they didn’t resign. And they had no problem with the illegal program for the 2 years prior. And the updated program was still found illegal by the supreme court…

    So if this program was bad enough to make these guys nearly resign en masse, I wonder how bad it really was?

  4. #4 Ed Brayton
    May 29, 2007


    When has the Supreme Court even heard a case on the NSA wiretapping program, much less found it illegal?

  5. #5 kehrsam
    May 29, 2007

    Of course, this may be the same gambit that McCain has repeatedly played, where he makes a stand for integrity, then allows a few cosmetic changes to convince himself that a “compromise” has been achieved. The issue under consideration was reauthorization of the program, so it had presumably met with approval at least once before.

  6. #6 Coin
    May 29, 2007

    Nearly thirty people at the DOJ?

    Exactly how many people were aware of the existence and scope of these programs when they were started?

    And when– if ever– will their existence and scope be fully disclosed to the public?

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