SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
In “Tamm: Punished for Defending the Constitution”, I reviewed the story of Thomas Tamm, the career Justice Department lawyer who blew the whistle on the Bush Administration’s felonious surveillance of millions of Americans in the guise of “national security.” In summary: the Bush Justice Department responded to the disclosure of its criminal manipulations in the pages of the New York Times by launching a massive manhunt, headed by an FBI Special Agent named Lawless, to identify the person in its ranks who mistakenly placed fidelity to the Constitution and laws above loyalty to President Bush. In 2006 and again in 2008, the American people spoke clearly to the Bush shenanigans, delivering electoral rebukes of historic proportions.
You might think that the hounds would have been called off given that a new leadership is shortly to arrive at Justice professing the view taken by Tamm (and indeed, by almost the entirety of the legal profession in the United States) that the Bush program was criminal in nature. But the campaign has continued. Here is a letter sent by Steven A. Tyrrell, the head of the Fraud Section at Bush Justice, who insists that the effort to get Tamm is still on and now requests Tamm’s cooperation in his own destruction. Mr. Tyrrell is extremely eager to have Tamm’s cooperation before January 20. I wonder why?
At the Justice web site, Tyrrell describes himself as a “dedicated public servant,” and he outlines the work his department has done. His group is the one that should have managed a probe into the Madoff affair and myriad other frauds and schemes that have damaged the nation’s finances. Instead, while white-collar crime prosecution all but came to a standstill, the resources of Tyrrell’s department were turned to attacking the administration’s political adversaries like Tamm. Perhaps Tyrrell is just a loyal Justice department functionary doing as instructed–but in doing so he is failing to exercise the independent discretion that used to be the hallmark of the Justice Department.
I hope that after January 20 Mr. Tyrrell will find some time to engage in actual law enforcement. Even better, perhaps he can focus his sights on the criminal conspiracy that led to the systematic circumvention of FISA. As it stands now, what he claims is an enforcement action is certainly viewed by many as another extreme effort to cover up the most criminal chapter in the history of the Justice Department.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”