Credit where due | Arkansas Blog

Credit where due

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Asa Huchinson is attorney for a federal employee who blew the whistle on the Bush administration's illegal surveillance program.

"When I looked at this, I was convinced that the action he took was based on his view of a higher responsibility," says Asa Hutchinson, the former U.S. attorney in Little Rock and under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security who is assisting in Tamm's defense. "It reflected a lawyer's responsibility to protect the rule of law." Hutchinson also challenged the idea—argued forcefully by other Bush administration officials at the time—that The New York Times story undermined the war on terror by tipping off Qaeda terrorists to surveillance. "Anybody who looks at the overall result of what happened wouldn't conclude there was any harm to the United States," he says. After reviewing all the circumstances, Hutchinson says he hopes the Justice Department would use its "discretion" and drop the investigation. In judging Tamm's actions—his decision to reveal what little he knew about a secret domestic spying program that still isn't completely known—it can be hard to decipher right from wrong. Sometimes the thinnest of lines separates the criminal from the hero.

And as if that's not enough for one day, Hutchinson has written a letter endorsing Eric Holder, Obama's choice for attorney general. Post-partisanship is breaking out all over.

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