“Here I stand, I can do no other,” James Comey told President George W. Bush in 2004 when Bush pressured Comey – who was then Deputy Attorney General – to approve an unlawful antiterrorist policy. Comey, who was FBI chief from 2013 to 2017, was quoting a line reputedly uttered by Martin Luther in 1521, when he told Holy Roman Emperor Charles V that he would not recant his sweeping criticisms of the Catholic Church. Comey’s quotation of himself quoting the father of theReformation is par for the self-reverence of his new memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews recently declared, “James Comey made his bones by standing up against torture. He was a made man before Trump came along.” Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria, in a column declaring that Americans should be “deeply grateful” to lawyers like Comey, declared, “The Bush administration wanted to claim that its ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were lawful. Comey believed they were not… So Comey pushed back as much as he could.”
Martin Luther risked death to fight against what he considered the heresies of his time. Comey, a top Bush administration policymaker, found a safer way to oppose the worldwide secret U.S. torture regime widely considered a heresy against American values. Comey approved brutal practices and then wrote some memos and emails fretting about the optics.
Comey became Deputy…