What, indeed, was the nature of the “program” before Goldsmith, Comey and Ashcroft — those notorious civil libertarian extremists — called a halt to it, and threatened to resign if the President continued to break the law? And what was the nature and breadth of its legal justification? I am hardly alone in realizing that these are the most important questions arising from the recent Comey testimony. It’s the question of the night, all over the Web. (When will the mainstream press catch on? And more importantly, as I asked in my last post — When will the Congress insist on comprehensive and public hearings, both on this and on the legal support for the Administration’s torture practices?)
Marty Leberman continues to have the best analysis of the NSA’s wiretap program. Go read “What Was “The Program” Before Goldsmith and Comey?” In “Putting the Pieces Together” he also explains how the criminal wiretaps led to the appointment of Gonzales to clean the DOJ of libertarians like Ashcroft.