Thursday, July 26, 2007
Gonzales Is Likely Telling The Truth
As incredible as it may seem to the liberal blogosphere, Alberto Gonzales is almost certainly telling the truth here.
There is evidence that there is more than one extra-legal warrantless domestic surveillance program that involves massive data mining of American citizens.
Certain congressional leaders (the "group of eight") know this, and another lawmaker -- Arlen Specter, who is the go-to man for cover-ups dating back to the Kennedy assassination -- on Tuesday actively shut Gonzales up when it appeared that the AG was going to let too much information slip out during questioning at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy threatened yesterday to request a perjury investigation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, as Democrats said an intelligence official's statement about a classified surveillance program was at odds with Gonzales's sworn testimony.
The latest dispute involving public remarks by Gonzales concerned the topic of a March 10, 2004, White House briefing for members of Congress. Gonzales, in congressional testimony Tuesday, said the purpose of the briefing was to address what he called "intelligence activities" that were the subject of a legal dispute inside the administration.
Gonzales testified that the meeting was not called to discuss a dispute over the National Security Agency's controversial warrantless surveillance program, which he has repeatedly said attracted no serious controversy inside the administration.
But a letter sent to Congress in May 2006 by then-Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte described the congressional meeting as a "briefing on the Terrorist Surveillance Program," the name that President Bush has publicly used to describe the warrantless surveillance program.
Democrats pointed to the Negroponte letter yesterday in an effort to portray Gonzales's remarks as misleading. They said Gonzales is trying to conceal the existence of a dispute between White House and Justice Department lawyers that involved the surveillance program, which many Democrats have criticized as an illegal or unjustified abuse of executive-branch authority.
Several Democratic lawmakers, including Senate intelligence committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), have also said the meeting focused on the NSA program and have strongly disputed other Gonzales characterizations of the meeting.
Leahy (D-Vt.) told reporters he is giving Gonzales until late next week to revise his testimony about the surveillance program or he will ask Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine to conduct a perjury inquiry: "I'll ask the inspector general to determine who's telling the truth."
Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said yesterday that Gonzales "stands by his testimony," and that "the disagreement . . . was not about the particular intelligence activity that has been publicly described by the president. It was about other highly classified intelligence activities." ...
Gonzales has repeatedly stood by his original testimony, in which he said the disagreement was not about "the program that the president has confirmed." A Justice official conceded during a background briefing for reporters this week that Gonzales's "linguistic parsing" has caused some confusion, but said that he spoke accurately.
In June, Gonzales veered briefly from his own account when he said at a news conference that the dispute described by Comey centered on the NSA program. But Roehrkasse told The Washington Post several days later that Gonzales misspoke.
Gonzales' real concern is to avoid perjuring himself -- thus his basically truthful testimony. Paradoxically, he is not worried about having enabled the far more serious violations of FISA because President Bush has expressly authorized these, in part through a classified United States Signals Intercepts Directive.