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    01 January 2006

    Ashcroft the Perjurer

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    - An assistant to then-Attorney General Ashcroft expressed concern when asked to sign onto the domestic espionage created by Bush and friends to spy on Americans. During a period when Mr. Ashcroft was in the hospital for surgery (and a difficult recovery) Deputy AG James B. Comey was pressed and ultimately refused to sign on to the program. At which point Andy Card and Alberto (Abu) Gonzales interrupted Ashcroft's recovery and either forced him to sign onto the program or went over his head as a King or dictator of some type would do.

    The top deputy to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft refused two years ago to approve important parts of the secret program that allows domestic eavesdropping without warrants, prompting two leading White House aides to try to win the needed approval from Mr. Ashcroft himself while he was hospitalized after a gall bladder operation, according to officials knowledgeable about the episode.

    With Mr. Ashcroft recuperating from gall bladder surgery in March 2004, his deputy, James B. Comey, who was then acting as attorney general, was unwilling to give his certification to crucial aspects of the classified program, as required under the procedures set up by the White House. . .

    That prompted two of President Bush's top aides - Andrew H. Card Jr., his chief of staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel and now the attorney general - to make an emergency visit to George Washington University Hospital to review the program with Mr. Ashcroft during what aides have described as a difficult recovery, the officials said.

    ...It was unclear whether the White House ultimately persuaded Mr. Ashcroft to approve the program or whether the White House moved ahead without his concurrence. What is known is that in early 2004, about the time of the hospital meeting, the White House suspended parts of the surveillance program for several months and moved ahead with more stringent requirements on the National Security Agency on how the program was used, in part to guard against possible abuses.

    This brings up the perjury question.
    8 June 200 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

    ASHCROFT: The information is provided to the Intelligence Committees and is available to a member of the Congress through the Intelligence Committees.

    We have reported on a regular basis to the Intelligence Committees about the operation of the Patriot Act. And we are required to do so in the Patriot Act.

    Part of the safeguards of the Patriot Act, in addition to every activity of the FISA community basically being pre-authorized by a federal judge and the fact that we have that kind of screening by the federal courts in advance, we are required twice a year to report to the Congress and the Intelligence Committees.

    Posted by Geoff

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