Thursday, June 07, 2007
Cheney Linked To CATCH-ALL
The bulldogging of NSA's CATCH-ALL program down the throats of reluctant officials had the direct involvement of Vice President Cheney, according to one DOJ insider.
Vice President Cheney told Justice Department officials that he disagreed with their objections to a secret surveillance program during a high-level White House meeting in March 2004, a former senior Justice official told senators yesterday.
The meeting came one day before White House officials tried to get approval for the same program from then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who lay recovering from surgery in a hospital, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey.
Comey's disclosures, made in response to written questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicate that Cheney and his aides were more closely involved than previously known in a fierce internal battle over the legality of the warrantless surveillance program. The program allowed the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between the United States and overseas.
Comey said that Cheney's office later blocked the promotion of a senior Justice Department lawyer, Patrick Philbin, because of his role in raising concerns about the surveillance. ...
According to Comey, the hospital visit was preceded by a March 9, 2004, meeting at the White House on the Justice Department objections. It was attended by Cheney; Gonzales; Card; Cheney's counsel then, David S. Addington; and others, Comey said.
Comey also named eight Justice Department officials who were prepared to quit if the White House had not backed down, including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, current U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of Alexandria and Jack Goldsmith, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel and led an internal legal review of the surveillance program.