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Top Cheney Aide: "We're One Bomb Away From Getting Rid" Of FISA Court

Steve Benen: A new book by former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith proves that Cheney's alter ego David Addington is a lunatic.
 
 
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This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

When it comes to the Bush administration's national security policies, former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith has always been an important figure, but with the publication of his new book, we're able to get some new insights into what he saw, and what the Bush gang was up to. In this case, that means more alarming revelations about out-of-control officials who treat the rule of law like a punch-line.

Goldsmith is as conservative as they come when it comes to political ideology, but he seems anxious to highlight the extent to which he disapproved of the White House's excessive tactics. Goldsmith also, apparently, considers David Addington, Dick Cheney's legal alter ego, a bit of a lunatic.

[Goldsmith] shared the White House's concern that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act might prevent wiretaps on international calls involving terrorists. But Goldsmith deplored the way the White House tried to fix the problem, which was highly contemptuous of Congress and the courts. "We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court," Goldsmith recalls Addington telling him in February 2004.

Their debate over the Geneva Conventions was even more striking.

Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of Salon.com's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.