You probably have not heard of Jack Goldsmith. Now a professor at Harvard Law School, he worked in the GW Bush Administration. In 2004, as Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Council, he withdrew, as legally defective, opinions that allowed the use of torture. Although he had written memos authorizing “Stellar Wind,” warrantless national surveillance in time of war, in 2004, he wrote that wiretapping was prohibited without an armed conflict. That prohibition led Acting Attorney General James Comey to refuse to reauthorize Stellar Wind (a decision taken when Attorney General Ashcroft could not be roused from a sickbed by the President’s men to authorize the program).

Jack Goldsmith got to know something about surveillance and its abuse when his mother’s third husband and his father figure Chuckie O’Brien was targeted as having a role in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa.  Jimmy Hoffa was Chuckie O’Brien’s father figure. Until Hoffa vanished, Chuckie O’Brien was Hoffa’s factotum – doing jobs that ranged from driving to collecting money for him. Despite the FBI, despite the accusation in books and movies, Chuckie O’Brien was probably not involved in Hoffa’s murder.

So says Jack Goldsmith. Goldsmith took time out from being a Harvard Law Professor and leading conservative legal thinker to write a book that exonerates Chuckie O’Brien and condemns FBI excess and has little sympathy for excesses of the press.

It is a little weird, too. It is rare to find a person moving easily between Chuckie O’Brien’s world and the world of Harvard Law School and the Hoover Institution. Read the book: In Hoffa’s Shadow.