Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One Extra-Legal Spying Program Was Insufficient

The preponderance of the evidence is that there are multiple warrantless domestic spying programs -- above and beyond the extra-legal NSA program -- that have been initiated by the Bush administration.

We discussed this inescapable conclusion on this blog way back on February 7, 2006 (see What Other Illegalities Are They Hiding?).

Now, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is having trouble keeping his sworn testimony on these programs consistent.

At the hearing, several senators attacked Mr. Gonzales’s assertions under oath in testimony last year that there had been no disagreement inside the Bush administration over the N.S.A. surveillance program.

Mr. Specter asked Mr. Gonzales, "What credibility is left for you when you say there's no disagreement?"

In answers that seemed to perplex and further exasperate senators, Mr. Gonzales said his past testimony about the program was correct. He said there was no debate about the N.S.A. program whose existence was confirmed by Mr. Bush in December 2005, after it was disclosed by The New York Times.

He insisted, however, that there were other "intelligence activities" that prompted the dispute in 2004 in which Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Comey and other Justice Department officials had threatened to quit. ...

Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, a Judiciary Committee member who also sits on the Intelligence Committee and has been briefed on the classified N.S.A. activities, said he was "appalled" by Mr. Gonzales’s testimony. "I believe your testimony is misleading at best," Mr. Feingold said. He said he could not elaborate in an unclassified hearing.

Everyone knows that the U.S. government has myriad "other intelligence activities."

But how many of these are legally tenuous enough to prompt a then-Attorney General and his top aides to threaten to resign over them?

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