Former Bush II administration deputy Attorney General James Comey’s expected nomination to be FBI director reminds us of a great scene in former colleague Barton Gellman’s book, “Angler,” which shows just how formidable Comey can be.
The book about former Vice President Dick Cheney — the title was his Secret Service code name — recounts a tense White House showdown between Comey — acting attorney general while John Ashcroft was hospitalized — and his Justice Department lawyers against Cheney, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and top intelligence officials over the legality of a domestic surveillance program.
“The [legal] analysis” justifying the program “is flawed, in fact, facially flawed,” Comey said. “No lawyer reading that could reasonably rely on it.”
David Addington, Cheney’s extremely formidable counsel, “stood by the window, over Cheney’s shoulder. He had heard a bellyful,” Gellman writes.
“Well, I’m a lawyer and I did,” Addington said, glaring at Comey.
“No good lawyer,” Comey said.