All conservative legal minds in the White House aren't necessarily given to voicing the unconscionable, though one such is, Dick Cheney's Dick Cheney, David Addington.
Glenn Greenwald, ex-constitutional law and civil rights litigator, previews the release of a new book, "The Terror Presidency," by Jack Goldsmith, who after deducting some minor expenses, is donating the advance and any profits to charity. Can you imagine Bush or Cheney doing anything like that? Needless to say such a book from someone charitable who headed the Office of Legal Counsel, the division of the Justice Department that advises the president on the limits of executive power excoriates the 'Bushies and the Cheneys'. Here is Greenwald beginning:
In October of 2003, Jack Goldsmith -- a right-wing lawyer with radical views of executive power and long-time friend of John Yoo -- was named by the Bush administration to head the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, one of the most influential legal positions in the executive branch. During his tenure, he discovered numerous legal positions which the administration had adopted (many created by Yoo) that he found baseless and even unconscionable -- from torture to detention powers to illegal surveillance -- and he repudiated many of them, thereby repeatedly infuriating the most powerful White House officials, led by Cheney top aide David Addington. As a result, his tenure was extremely brief, and he was gone a mere 9 months after he began.
There are many illuminating details, as contained in the book and pre-launch interviews given by Goldsmith to Jeffrey Rosen in a 'New York Times Magazine' piece, 'Conscience of a Conservative'. The most dramatic revelations are in Goldsmith's intense duel with the zealot Addington who was then Cheney's legal counsel:
When Goldsmith presented his analysis of the Geneva Conventions at the White House, Addington, according to Goldsmith, became livid. "The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections," Addington replied angrily, according to Goldsmith. "You cannot question his decision."
Goldsmith puts the bulk of the responsibility for the excesses of the Office of Legal Counsel on the White House. "I probably had a hundred meetings with Gonzales, and there was only one time I was talking about a national-security issue when Addington wasn't there," Goldsmith told me. "My conflicts were all with Addington, who was a proxy for the vice president. They were very, very stressful."
In his book, Goldsmith claims that Addington and other top officials treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the same way they handled other laws they objected to: "They blew through them in secret based on flimsy legal opinions that they guarded closely so no one could question the legal basis for the operations," he writes "We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court," Goldsmith recalls Addington telling him in February. 2004.
Who is Addington? From Wikipedia ... "he was appointed to replace Lewis "Scooter" Libby as Cheney's chief of staff upon Libby's resignation on October 28, 2005. He was described by U.S. News and World Report as "the most powerful man you've never heard of" (until Goldsmith's book).
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