Wednesday, May 16, 2007

High drama over warrantless surveillance

Wow, it sounds like the testimony of former Deputy AG James Comey was riveting. If you missed it, Comey testified that he, Ashcroft, FBI Director Mueller, and other DOJ officials nearly resigned over the NSA warrantless surveillance program in 2004 when DOJ was refusing to renew the program.

Comey described a race to the hospital where Ashcroft had just had surgery:
When the White House officials appeared minutes later, Mr. Gonzales began to explain to Mr. Ashcroft why they were there. Mr. Comey said Mr. Ashcroft rose weakly from his hospital bed, but in strong and unequivocal terms, refused to approve the eavesdropping program.

"I was angry," Mr. Comey told the committee. "I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me. I thought he had conducted himself in a way that demonstrated a strength I had never seen before, but still I thought it was improper."

Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card quickly departed, but Mr. Comey said he soon got an angry phone call from Mr. Card, demanding that he come to the White House. Mr. Comey said he replied: "After what I just witnessed, I will not meet with you without a witness, and I intend that witness to be the solicitor general of the United States."

The full story is in the New York Times.

Andy in Harrisburg

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