The latest Newsweek piece (co-authored by the odious Stuart Taylor) is a classic for Kremlinologists.
The basic storyline is something like "Real conservatives opposed Cheney overreach on civil liberties. Sacrificial goat: Addington."
To reduce it to its basics:
* James Comey, resigning as Deputy AG, is a good guy because he looks like Jimmy Stewart. Notwithstanding his jaw-dropping position on Padilla
(courts don't tell presidents what they can do),
* Comey's staff warned him Bushco was treading into illegality, and they paid a price,
* For Assistant AG Jack Goldsmith, that price was taking perhaps double the salary to teach at Harvard Law,
* Comey is the good guy who appointed Patrick Fitzgerald,
* We know
he's a good guy because he withdrew the torture memo (after it leaked to The Washington Post),
* None of the heroes were career civil servants. They were conservatives,
* The bad guy was David Addington, a Rasputin with a volcanic temper and an ominous love for gazpacho,
* His sidekick was John Yoo, conveniently now moved on to a tenured position paying beaucoup bucks,
* Patrick Philbin, another good guy despite co-authoring the Yoo torture memo, was denied the chance to become Deputy Solicitor General in the most corrupt administration in history and is now moving on to the private sector, where Bushco will doubtless find a way to pay him enough to keep his mouth shut,
[I know that my colleagues admire Patrick Fitzgerald. I am more skeptical, and suggest we hold the admiration until we see what he produces in the most important case he's ever likely to prosecute. Also, Newsweek did get around to mentioning that Bush and Cheney were the motive forces behind the illegality, but since they buried their inculpation of Dick and George deep in text and inside parentheses where no one reads, I'll similarly bury my exculpation of Klaidman, Taylor, and Thomas from the charge of being complete tools.]
You know you are in the Twilight Zone when you read statements like, "[The] carefully worded opinions [of the Office of Legal Counsel] are regarded as binding precedent-final say on what the president and all his agencies can and cannot legally do."
Apparently Newsweek has never heard of the Judicial Branch of Government. Or this:
"Perhaps inevitably, however, 'coercive interrogation methods' spread from Guantanamo Bay, which housed terror suspects, into prisons like Abu Ghraib, where detainees could be almost anyone."
As the Taguba Report makes plain, the Pentagon ordered
coercive interrogation methods, and they "spread" because Jeffrey Miller was dispatched to spread them. As the Alfred McCoy interview I linked below says, torture has been a calculated part of US official policy since the 1950s, kept to the margins most of the time, but always available for use in Third World countries that lack a vigorous independent media.
"Reasoning that there was no time to obtain warrants from a secret court set up under FISA (a sometimes cumbersome process)..."
This is a lie, and Stuart Taylor should be ashamed to have his name attached to it (obviously he's not). As everyone knows, FISA is just fine with post-dated warrants (to enroll in a law course on the legality of post-dating, try post-dating your mortgage payment.)
James Goldsmith and the unnamed others in this story may have done their jobs. For this, they got a paycheck. But anyone who goes from one job to a higher paying one while spending two years saying that, well, torture is not such a bad thing
is not my idea of a hero.
Based on absolutely nothing [*] besides the tone of this article, one would predict that Addington is being set up to be the next indictment in the Plame case. Maybe yes, maybe no, but this definitely looks like a show trial pre-game warm-up.
[*] There's also this this
: "Addington was referred to by job title in the indictment of Libby on Friday, and appears likely to be called as a witness should Libby’s case go to trial."