The OLC [Office of Legal Counsel], with its tremendous authority to issue "golden shields" to the executive branch against prosecution, was designed to exercise independent judgment. But according to another former administration official, a conservative lawyer who was troubled by the leverage over the office that was exerted by the White House, "They didn't care if the opinions would stand scrutiny. They just wanted to check a box saying, 'OLC says it's legal.' They wanted lawyers who would tell them that whatever they wanted to do was okay."
With Ashcroft hone, Gonzalez running the Justice Department, and Miers now taking his place as the top lawyer in the White House, observers noticed that Addington and Cheney's influence over legal policy only expanded. Attorney General Gonzalez, who owed his professional ascent almost entirely to Bush, seemed intimidated by the Vice President and his staff.
Copyright 2008 by Jane Mayer. All Rights Reserved