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Senate Set to Confirm New FBI Head Who OK’d Waterboarding, Defends Mass Spying, Indefinite Detention

And, the reaction from former special FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley.

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COLEEN ROWLEY: That’s right. They did ask Comey some good questions about the law that allows the government to read emails after six months, and they asked some questions about pending legislation to fix the NSA. Comey kind of hedged on those questions and said he could not really offer an opinion. The key thing here is that Comey did not really oppose warrantless monitoring, and actually looks like he just wanted the legal underpinnings to be adjusted.

And as far as whistleblowers, of course, in the FBI and as well as many of these other intelligence agencies, there is no recourse in court. You never get your day in court. So, of course—Senator Grassley mentioned this—there’s no other option for people who witness true illegality, as Edward Snowden did. What do you do when you’re witnessing violations of the Constitution and there is no internal chain of command or mechanism to get that information out? And Comey, of course, I don’t think, is—is not going to answer that, because he doesn’t want to prejudice the situation right now of the government prosecuting Edward Snowden.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe she should be confirmed?

COLEEN ROWLEY: Well, it’s a sad—

AMY GOODMAN: He should be confirmed?

COLEEN ROWLEY: Yeah, you know what’s really sad here is that it looks like the next FBI director will be someone who signed off on illegal torture, can’t really explain why. But yet it’s sadder still that amongst the pool out there that they consider to be appropriate candidates for FBI director, Comey actually might be one of the better ones. I mean, this is a very sad state of affairs right now.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much, Coleen Rowley, and point out that, if confirmed, he serves a 10-year term. Coleen Rowley was a special agent for the FBI from 1981 to 2004, division legal counsel for 13 years, teaching constitutional rights to FBI agents and police, also testified before Congress about the FBI’s failure to help prevent the 9/11 attacks and was named Person of the Year by Time magazine.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, the Bradley Manning trial.

View the original transcript and video at Democracy Now!

Nermeen Shaikh is a Producer with Democracy Now!. She holds an M.Phil. in politics from Cambridge University, and is the author of "The Present as History: Critical Perspectives on Global Power," published by Columbia University Press.