Leahy & Specter Seek More Documents On Wiretap Program
By Keith Koffler
Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking member Arlen
Specter, R-Pa., again asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales today for
information about the justifications for the warrantless wiretapping
program, saying his response so far has been "wholly inadequate."
request followed testimony last week by former Deputy Attorney General
James Comey, who revealed that the Justice Department had concerns
about the legal basis for the program and refused to certify it for a
period of time in 2004. Comey testified that Gonzales and former White
House Chief of Staff Andrew Card had approached then-Attorney General
John Ashcroft while he was hospitalized, seeking his approval to renew
"You have rebuffed all requests for documents and
your answers to our questions have been wholly inadequate and, at
times, misleading," Leahy and Specter wrote to Gonzales. They argued
that the information is needed before the committee considers the
administration's proposed changes to the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act and set a June 5 deadline for the Justice Department
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said it was reviewing the letter from Specter and Leahy.
cannot comment on internal discussions or deliberations that may or may
have not taken place concerning classified intelligence activities,"
Boyd said. "The Terrorist Surveillance Program was a vital intelligence
program that helped detect and prevent terrorist attacks. It was always
subject to rigorous oversight and review."
Meanwhile, the House
Judiciary Committee today released a letter sent Monday by John Dowd,
attorney for former Gonzales aide Monica Goodling, saying Goodling
could not release without clearance from the Justice Department certain
documents related to the panel's investigation of the firings last year
of nine U.S. attorneys.
Judiciary Chairman John Conyers,
D-Mich., responded with a letter today to Dowd demanding the documents
and questioning Dowd's rationale for withholding them. Goodling will
testify under a grant of immunity Wednesday and make what Dowd called
in his letter a "limited production" of documents.
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