From the NYT:
The N.S.A.’s data mining has previously been reported. But the disclosure that concerns about it figured in the March 2004 debate helps to clarify the clash this week between Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senators who accused him of misleading Congress and called for a perjury investigation.
The confrontation in 2004 led to a showdown in the hospital room of then Attorney General John Ashcroft, where Mr. Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time, and Andrew H. Card Jr., then the White House chief of staff, tried to get the ailing Mr. Ashcroft to reauthorize the N.S.A. program.
Mr. Gonzales insisted before the Senate this week that the 2004 dispute did not involve the Terrorist Surveillance Program “confirmed” by President Bush, who has acknowledged eavesdropping without warrants but has never acknowledged the data mining.
If the dispute chiefly involved data mining, rather than eavesdropping, Mr. Gonzales’ defenders may maintain that his narrowly crafted answers, while legalistic, were technically correct.
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From the blog buzz I see, the puppies will continue to chase their tails for a while longer because like the typical dog with a bone it is hard for them, if not impossible to admit, they were wrong.
Right Wing Nut House shows how the Democratically Controlled investigations are pure politics without substance:
But that’s in the past. What we have today is an Attorney General who can’t seem to explain to Congress the various intelligence activities being carried out by the NSA to catch terrorists before they can strike here in the US. Part of that is certainly the fact that much of it is classified (something the AG offered to clarify in closed session – Democrats refused, wanting their circus to be televised). But beyond that, Gonzalez can’t seem to summon the coherence to differentiate between the already acknowledged “Terrorist Surveillance Program” and “other intelligence activities” being carried out by NSA.
They could have gotten their answers, had everything explained to them but the dishonest politicians among them insisted on asking questions they previously knew could not be answered publicly because of classified materials and refused to get their answers in private.
Gonzales may not be the best public speaker, he may not be the most competent to explain classified material, publicly, without revealing too much, but that is a far cry from perjury.
PoliPundit wonders when Schumer will be called into account:
Isn’t that nice? The Bush Administration has been saying the same thing for almost three years. But in liberal land, “data mining” is the same thing as the TSP. Because, well, it’s imperative to score political points. See, AG Gonzales offered to brief these Senators in a classified meeting to clairify their questions regarding the different programs. They declined. Gee, I wonder why?
Finally, which MSM reporter or outlet will call Senator Schumer to account on this?
Power Line states that those that accused Gonzales of perjury, owes him an apology.
In fact, James Comey's testimony did not contradict Gonzales's. As we have pointed out repeatedly, Comey refused to identify the program over which there was a legal disagreement that led to the hospital visit. He did not, contrary to the Times's assertion, challenge or contradict Gonzales's testimony that "[t]here has not been any serious disagreement about the program that the president has confirmed. There have been disagreements about other matters regarding operations, which I cannot get into.”
The fact is that the Senators who ridiculed Gonzales, questioned his credibility and called for a perjury investigation were wrong. They owe the Attorney General an apology.
I pray that the writer isn't holding his breath though.
Once again, this was no more than a deliberate attempt to create a mountain out of a molehill, but it has been amusing watching those puppies chase their tails for so long over a "non-issue".