They questioned the torture justifications, the warrantless wiretapping and the whole “absolute power to do whatever I want” thing.
The rebels were not whistle-blowers in the traditional sense. They did not wantÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬?indeed avoidedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬?publicity. (Goldsmith confirmed public facts about himself but otherwise declined to comment. Comey also declined to comment.) They were not downtrodden career civil servants. Rather, they were conservative political appointees who had been friends and close colleagues of some of the true believers they were fighting against. They did not see the struggle in terms of black and white but in shades of grayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬?as painfully close calls with unavoidable pitfalls. They worried deeply about whether their principles might put Americans at home and abroad at risk. Their story has been obscured behind legalisms and the veil of secrecy over the White House. But it is a quietly dramatic profile in courage. (For its part the White House denies any internal strife. “The proposition of internal division in our fight against terrorism isn’t based in fact,” says Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney. “This administration is united in its commitment to protect Americans, defeat terrorism and grow democracy.”)
They’re gone now, but their legacy has brought about actual debate. If you have ten minutes this morning, dig into this one. It’s good.