John W. Dean
Worse Than Watergate:
Mon Apr 5, 2004 21:24
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
by John W. Dean
Before becoming Counsel to the President of the United States in July 1970 at
age thirty-one, John Dean was Chief Minority Counsel to the Judiciary Committee
of the United States House of Representatives, the Associate Director of a law
reform commission, and Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States.
He served as Richard Nixon's White House lawyer for a thousand days.
He did his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and the College of
Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science. He received a
graduate fellowship from American University to study government and the
presidency, before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received
his JD in 1965.
John has written many articles on law, government,and politics. He has recounted
his days in the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books, Blind Ambition
(1976) and Lost Honor (1982). John Lives in Beverly Hills, California with his
wife Maureen. He works as a writer, lecturer, and private investment banker.
In 2001 he published "The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon
Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court;" in 2002 he published an e-book
"Unmasking Deep Throat;" and in early 2004, Warren G. Harding. His newest book
is "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush."
Columns by John Dean Most Recent | Page 4 | Page 3 | Page 2 | Page 1
Bush's Attack On Richard Clarke and His Laudable New Book:
The Press and the Government Collaborate to Violate Journalistic Ethics, But
Their Gambit Backfires
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses
Richard Clarke's recent book, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War On
Terror, and the backlash it has triggered. Dean criticizes Fox News for
releasing an off-the-record backgrounder done by Clarke, and criticizes, as
well, those who have suggested that the book and the backgrounder conflict; in
fact, Dean argues, the two are entirely consistent.
Monday, Apr. 05, 2004
A Closer Look At The Case From Which Justice Scalia Has Refused To Recuse
The Momentous Stakes, and the Larger Political Context
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean offers a new
take on the controversy over Justice Antonin Scalia's refusal to recuse himself
from a case involving his fellow duck hunter and dinner companion, Vice
President Dick Cheney. Dean focus not on the recusal issue itself but on the
underlying case, asking: Why does Scalia want to vote on this case, in
particular? And with Scalia's vote, what is the outcome at the Court likely to
Friday, Mar. 26, 2004
Defaming The Dead:
A Legal Remedy for Absurd Charges That LBJ Murdered JFK
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean criticizes the
common law rule that defamation suits may not be brought on behalf of dead
persons whose reputations have been attacked. Dean also suggests, however, that
other legal avenues may be open for those who seek to mend such reputational
damage. Dean takes as a case in point the explosive, and dubious charge that LBJ
was involved in a conspiracy to murder JFK. If this charge is false, is there a
remedy for the harm it has caused to LBJ's widow Lady Bird, his daughters, and
to his lasting reputation? Dean explains what the legal options are.
Friday, Mar. 12, 2004
How Do Washington SuperLawyers Work?
The Inside Scoop, As Revealed By David McKean's New Biography Of Tommy Corcoran
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the
fascinating character of the Washington "SuperLawyer," as exemplified by
FDR-administration player Tommy Corcoran. Relying on David McKean's
recently-released biography of Corcoran -- as well as McKean's earlier book on
Clark Clifford -- Dean draws a portrait of the Washington SuperLawyer as
powerful, influential and at times, corrupt.
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004
President Bush's New Iraq Commission Won't Be Investigating the Key WMD Issue:
How the Executive Order Fatally Limits Their Agenda
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean takes a close
look both at President Bush's announcement of a new Commission relating to
intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the Executive Order
setting the Commission's agenda. Dean contends that the Order inappropriately
limits the Commission's agenda, with the result that the Commission it will
never address the question on most voters' minds -- whether WMD evidence was
distorted or exaggerated by the Bush Administration. He also compares and
contrasts the Commission with other similar bodies Presidents have created over
Friday, Feb. 13, 2004
A Must Read Book That Explains Rubinomics, and Much More:
Robert Rubin and Jacob Weisberg's In An Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall
Street to Washington
FindLaw book reviewer and former counsel to the President John Dean makes the
case that Robert Rubin's new memoir (written with Jacob Weisberg) of his Clinton
Administration days is not only excellent, but a true must read. Dean contends
that the book persuasively establishes the virtues not only of Rubin's economic
judgment, but also of President Clinton's. He also argues that President Bush's
economic decisionmaking compares unfavorably to that of both Rubin and Clinton.
Friday, Feb. 06, 2004
The Leak of CIA Agent Valerie Plame Wilson's Identity:
Why Competing Congressional and Special Counsel Investigations Will Inevitably
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that
there will eventually be a clash between the Special Counsel and Congressional
investigations of the leak of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. To
prove his point, Dean draws upon historic examples from two scandals: Abscam and
Friday, Jan. 30, 2004
The U.S. Supreme Court and The Imperial Presidency
How President Bush Is Testing the Limits of His Presidential Powers
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses five
cases before the Supreme Court that will test the reach of Executive power; at
least four are likely to be decided this Term, and thus to play a role in 2004
election politics. Dean surveys the various issues the cases raise -- most of
them related to the "war on terror." He also makes a provocative comparison
between President Nixon's, and President Bush's, respective tendencies to test
the bounds of Executive power at the Supreme Court.
Friday, Jan. 16, 2004
Why Did Attorney General Ashcroft Remove Himself From The Valerie Plame Wilson
Signs that a Key Witness May Have Come Forward
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses a
Washington, D.C. investigation that, as he notes, has lately been heating up --
with the possibility of grand jury proceedings to come. The investigation probes
the sources of the leak, by two senior Administration officials to columnist
Robert Novak, of Valerie Plame Wilson's status as a covert CIA agent. Dean
contends that the progress of the investigation -- including Attorney General
Ashcroft's decision to recuse himself -- strongly suggests that at least one key
witness has already come forward to cooperate with the government.
Tuesday, Jan. 06, 2004
The Ominous Omnibus Appropriations Bill
Why Senators Daschle and Byrd Were Right to Decry The Lowdown, Dirty Tactics
That Led to It
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the
strange process that led to the currently pending omnibus appropriations bill.
Dean raises a number of critique of Congress's procedures with respect to the
bill, and argues that it should ultimately be carefully considered before being
voted upon, and should not pass by "unanimous consent."
Friday, Dec. 19, 2003
Making War Unnecessary
An Interview with Dr. David Hamburg
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean interviews Dr.
David Hamburg, author of the book No More Killing Fields; president emeritus of
the Carnegie Corporation; and eminent expert on conflict resolution. Dean and
Hamburg discuss alternatives to wars, ways of preventing deadly conflicts,
including diplomatic means, and the role of democracy in conflict resolution.
Friday, Dec. 05, 2003
An Early Assessment by Leading Presidential Scholars of George W. Bush's
In Part Two of a two-part series of columns, FindLaw columnist and former
counsel to the President John Dean discusses additional points raised by a
recent book of essays that consider the current Bush Presidency from a number of
different vantage points. Among the topics considered are President Bush's
relationship to the press and to the public, his legislative strategy, and his
standing in opinion polls.
Friday, Nov. 21, 2003
An Early Assessment By Leading Presidential Scholars
of George W. Bush's Presidency: Part One
In Part One of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the
President John W. Dean discusses a recent book compiling a set of essays that
resulted from a conference held at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson school. The essays
consider the current Bush Presidency from a number of differnet vantage points,
and often find it wanting -- though they also disprove some oft-voiced
criticisms of the President.
Friday, Nov. 07, 2003
Has George W. Bush Met His Own Ken Starr?
Presidential Lies, Those Who Expose Them, and How We Ought to Judge Among Them
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the
history of Presidential lies, past and present, and argues that not only has our
current President been lying, but his lies are very serious indeed. To make his
case, Dean draws on two important sources -- Nation editor David Corn's The Lies
of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception and James Pfiffner's
essay on Presidential lying for The Presidential Studies Quarterly.
Friday, Oct. 24, 2003
A Further Look At The Criminal ChargesThat May Arise From the Plame Scandal, In
Which a CIA Agent's Cover Was Blown
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean follows up on
his earlier column relating to the disclosure -- apparently by two senior Bush
Administration officials -- of Valerie Plame Wilson' s status as a covert CIA
operative. Plame is the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who told
the truth about the bogus claim relating to Saddam Hussein and Niger uranium.
Dean previously argued that the disclosure itself could be criminal; now he
argues, in addition, that exploiting the disclosure, as some Bush Administration
officials allegedly have done, may also be a crime.
Friday, Oct. 10, 2003
Bush's Unofficial Official Secrets Act:
How the Justice Department Has Pushed to Criminalize The Disclosure of
Non-Security Related Government Information
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that a
recent Atlanta federal prosecution is evidence of a troubling recent Department
of Justice strategy of criminalizing leaks of government information to the news
media. Dean contends that since Congress has, over the years, declined to pass
an Official Secrets Act, such prosecutions -- which have serious free speech
costs -- should not be occurring. Drawing on both history and law, he argues
that the laws invoked to support the recent indictment are being misapplied.
Friday, Sep. 26, 2003
Grassroots Opposition to Rights-Infringing Antiterrorism Tactics
Why the ACLU's Model Resolution Is Dangerous and Should Be Revised
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean applauds
local efforts to protect the Bill of Rights even during the war on terrorism --
including city council resolutions to this effect. But he warns, as well, that
unless such resolutions are carefully framed, they may pose serious risks of
prosecution for the city council members who enact them, and the police who
follow them, for they may count as obstruction of justice. Dean takes issue with
the ACLU's model resolution for this reason.
Friday, Sep. 12, 2003
GAO's Final Energy Task Force Report Reveals that the Vice President Made A
False Statement to Congress
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean carefully
analyzes the General Accounting Office's recent report, "Energy Task Force:
Process Used to Develop the National Energy Policy." Despite the report's dry
title and tone, Dean contends, it contains bombshells -- such as evidence that
Vice President Dick Cheney made a false statement to Congress concerning the
White House's production of Energy Task Force-related documents to GAO.
Friday, Aug. 29, 2003
The Bush Administration Adopts a Worse-than-Nixonian Tactic:
The Deadly Serious Crime Of Naming CIA Operatives
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses legal
aspects of the recent controversy about the disclosure -- apparently by two
senior Administration officials -- of Valerie Plame Wilson' s status as a covert
CIA operative. Plame is the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who
told the truth about the bogus claim relating to Saddam Hussein and Niger
uranium. Dean argues that the disclosures are likely criminal, pursuant to
several federal statutes.
Friday, Aug. 15, 2003
The 9/11 Report Raises More Serious Questions About The White House Statements
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the
recently released Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry Into The Terrorist
Attacks Of September 11. Dean argues -- drawing on statements made by
Condoleezza Rice -- that the report supports one of two disturbing conclusions.
One is that the White House, despite its denials, knew terrorists might fly
airplanes into skyscrapers. The other is that the CIA possessed this
information, but failed to give it to the White House. Dean suggests the fault
is more likely to lie with the White House, than the CIA.
Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2003
A Timely Account of the Key Supreme Court Military Tribunals Precedent: A Review
of Louis Fisher's Nazi Saboteurs on Trial
FindLaw columnist, FindLaw book reviewer, and former counsel to the President
John Dean assesses prolific author Louis Fisher's most recent work, Nazi
Saboteurs on Trial. The book details the history behind Ex Parte Quirin, the key
Supreme Court precedent upon which the Bush Administration has relied for the
authority to convene military tribunals in the war on terrorism. Dean explains
why the book's lessons suggest Quirin may not be the type of precedent the Court
ought to follow.
Friday, Jul. 25, 2003
Why A Special Prosecutor's Investigation Is Needed To Sort Out the Niger Uranium
And Related WMDs Mess
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean calls on
President Bush to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the apparent
falsity of eight statements in the President's January 28 State of the Union
address. The statements relate to the case for war against Saddam Hussein, and
in particular, to Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Dean analyzes
each statement and, insofar as documents have been declassified or otherwise
made public, examines the basis for its inclusion in the State of the Union.
Friday, Jul. 18, 2003
Defamation Immunity On The Internet:
An Evolving Body Of Law Has Been Stretched Beyond Its Limits
FindLaw columnist and former Counsel to the President John Dean discusses an
important recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
relating to liability, and immunity, for defamation on the Internet. Dean argues
that the majority was wrong to interpret a federal statute to grant immunity to
a defendant who published in his Internet news
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