Doing the right thing: Timing

The Washington Post came out today in response to the Comey testimony and expressed shock that the Bush Administration could act in such a blatantly thuggish and lawless manner. Sending Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card to John Ashcroft's bedside to get him to sign off on an unlawful surveillance program struck the WaPo, quite properly, as reprehensible. But this was a side issue in the whole warrantless-wiretapping case. America knew about that case in December 2005 and a District Court Judge decided in August 2006 that it was without even a figleaf of legitimacy. A Bush Administration appointee said a few months back that he considered the program to still be legitimate and proceeded to name precisely those reasons that had been shot down by the District Court Judge!

I mean, hey it's great that the WaPo now sees the light and is speaking out against this disreputable behavior, but where have they BEEN since December 2005?!?! Making excuses for the Bush Administration and averting their eyes, mostly.

They're hardly the first ones to do this, they are aware that things are not the way they should be, but say nothing until the damage is long since done. I mean, it's great that George Tenet is now coming out and saying that the Iraq War was built on phony info, but the appropriate time for him to make this point was before the war was launched. As Crooks & Liars puts it:

Meet the Press continues the George Tenet buy my book traveling show. Dear Tim, please ask why Tenet felt that holding onto this information for four long years was acceptable — and how he thinks that fact ought to sit with family and friends of our soldiers stationed in Iraq and elsewhere, for starters.

I've written about David "Dean" Broder who also held his tongue just long enough for the Bush Administration to get away with what they were doing. Broder showed several weeks after the Swift Boat Vets attack on John Kerry's candidacy for the presidency petered out that he was fully aware of the dishonorable and disreputable nature of their attack on Kerry. Problem was, he was nowhere to be found when the attack was taking place, when a column by him exposing the Swift Boat Vets might have stopped them in their tracks.

As Glenn Greenwald points out, one kinda has to wonder just how long the WaPo's outrage will last. Will this be something that will shake them out of their torpor and lead them into devoting front-page stories to it, or will it be a one-day story that will never make it out of the back pages?

Further links on Comey testimony:
Taylor Marsh

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