October 4, 2007 | By Kurt Opsahl

"No Good Lawyer" Would Buy Warrantless Surveillance Justification

Today the New York Times published a fascinating article about a secret government memo purporting to justify extreme interrogation methods, written even as the Administration was disavowing torture. The article is well worth a read in its own right. Deep within the article, lies an pagewanted=4&hp">anecdote on another topic ? the legal justifications for the NSA warrantless surveillance program:

An imposing former prosecutor and self-described conservative who
stands 6-foot-8, [Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey] was the
rare administration official who was willing to confront [Cheney's
Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel David] Addington. At one testy 2004
White House meeting, when Mr. Comey stated that "no lawyer" would
endorse [John] Yoo?s justification for the N.S.A. program, Mr.
Addington demurred, saying he was a lawyer and found it convincing.
Mr. Comey shot back: "No good lawyer," according to someone present.

Comey's comment comes as no surprise ? earlier this week Jack Goldsmith, former head of the Department of Justice?s Office of Legal Counsel, testified that when he took charge of the OLC and first saw the legal analysis of the warrantless surveillance, he "could not find the legal support for" aspects of the program, describing the justifications as ?a legal mess ... it was the biggest mess I encountered there."

Its time to put an end to the illegal surveillance. Call Congress today.


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