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Friday, July 27, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: F.B.I. Chief Gives Account at Odds With Gonzales’s.

I have not had time to fully pay attention to Alberto Gonzales’ testimony this week, although I am interested in the entire situation.

It would seem that Gonzales is lying about why he went to the bedside of the then-AG Jon Ashcroft. Not only has an eye-witness (acting AG James Comey) testified about the reason that Gonzales and then WH Chief of Staff Andy Card visited Ashcroft, now FBI Director Mueller’s testimony backs up Comey, not Gonzales:

The director, Robert S. Mueller III, told the House Judiciary Committee that the confrontation was about the National Security Agency’s counterterrorist eavesdropping program, describing it as “an N.S.A. program that has been much discussed.” His testimony was a serious blow to Mr. Gonzales, who insisted at a Senate hearing on Tuesday that there were no disagreements inside the Bush administration about the program at the time of those discussions or at any other time.


“I had an understanding that the discussion was on a N.S.A. program,” Mr. Mueller said in answer to a question from Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

Asked whether he was referring to the Terrorist Surveillance Program, or T.S.P., he replied, “The discussion was on a national N.S.A. program that has been much discussed, yes.”

Mr. Mueller said he had taken notes of some of his conversations about the issue, and after the hearing the committee asked him to produce them.

Now, the reason why Gonzales may be trying to obfuscate the purpose of the Ashcroft visit is because Gonzales had already testified before the Congress that there had been no internal disagreements within the administration over the TSP. However, the Ashcroft incident underscores that there were objections by acting AG Comey and AG Ashcroft (who refused to sign the document that Gonzales brought to his bedside).

Of course, as lies go, this isn’t a very smart one because there were several witnesses in the room, and Mueller’s testimony indicates that there were conversations about the incident with others soon thereafter.

Clearly there are issues that the administration simply doesn’t want to talk about and I suspect that they are hoping that they can simply run out the clock on the administration’s final year and a half in office so as not to have to talk about them.

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Filed under: US Politics | |


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    1. I believe Gonzales said there were no “major” disagreements within the justice department over the TSP program. It’s a difference in perception that is far from perjury. I would liken it to some one describing the day a mostly sunny when in fact it was partly cloudy. It doesn’t really matter.

      The committee members are calling Gonzales a liar at every turn but basically cannot find anything of real substance other than differing opinions. It’s a political circus and little more. The firings were legal and the reasons behind them are the administration’s business. Everything else is bluster in order to make Bush and his administration look bad.

      It’s the payback the Dems promised. It’s shameful.

      Comment by Steve Plunk — Friday, July 27, 2024 @ 9:29 am

    2. Steve,

      Then why doesn’t he just own up and state that there was “some” disagreement. The inability of Gonzales to answer serious questions in a straightforward manner is problematic.

      This is not just about a dispute over the weather, it is about using the power of the federal government to eavesdrop on American citizens (at a minimum).

      And it isn’t just Democrats–Republicans have been critical of Gonzales as well.

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Friday, July 27, 2024 @ 9:58 am

    3. The AG is entering a hostile environment every time he testifies. He answers questions in an efficient manner to the best of his ability. Some of the topics are not meant to be discussed in public and senators like Schumer know it but they ask anyway in order to create dramatic political theater. This was clearly illustrated by their exchange in the news.

      You’re right, it’s not a discussion about the weather but it is also not about the federal government eavesdropping on Americans. This is about the USA firings and congressional meddling. The domestic spying issues are periphial. The weather example is used to point out this is far from perjury. It is differing opinions about perceptions that can vary greatly.

      As much as a political fight we also have the balance of power fight. Congress wants to exercise more than what the administration believes it should have. Power drunk Republicans like Spectre are criticizing Gonzales more for his standing up to them than anything else.

      It still bothers me that we are even on this subject. The firings were legal and normal.

      Comment by Steve Plunk — Friday, July 27, 2024 @ 1:52 pm

    4. Well, actually, the initial testimony about the wiretapping took place before the USA business broke.

      And while the USA situation is relevant, this is not all that this is about.

      And while the firings were legal, you really have no grounds upon which to assert that they were “normal” as they were assuredly well outside the norm–as the CRS Report that I have cited before noted.

      You are well within your rights to dismiss those firings, however to assert that they were normal and to act as if the administration has acquitted itself well in explaining their actions takes a great deal of purposefully ignoring the facts.

      And while Specter had never been my favorite Senator, I fail to see how any of his actions equate to his being “power mad.”

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Friday, July 27, 2024 @ 2:02 pm

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