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AG Gonzales Contradicted by FBI Director Mueller

July 26, 2007

During today’s Judiciary Committee hearing, two key points made by Attorney General Gonzales were contradicted by FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Rep. Mel Watt (NC-12) questioned Mueller on the warrantless wiretapping program. His answer directly contradicted Gonzales’ testimony to the Senate that “there has not been any serious disagreement about the program that the president has confirmed”:

Rep. Watt: “Can you confirm that you had some serious reservations about the warrantless wiretapping program that kind of led up to this?”

Director Mueller: “Yes.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-16) questioned Mueller on the warrantless wiretapping program as well, asking whether the bedside discussion with John Ashcroft and James Comey were, in fact, about the warrantless wiretapping program. His answer was in contradiction to Gonzales’ statement in his Senate testimony yesterday that he had visited Ashcroft in the hospital to discuss “other intelligence activities,” not the surveillance program.

Rep. Jackson-Lee: “Did you have an understanding that that the conversation was on TSP?”
Director Mueller: “I had an understanding that the discussion was on an NSA program, yes.”
Rep. Jackson-Lee: “I guess we use ‘TSP,’ we use ‘warrantless wiretapping,’ so would I be comfortable in saying that those were the items that were part of the discussion?”
Director Mueller: “The discussion was on a national NSA program that has been much discussed, yes.”

FBI Director Contradicts Gonzales
Laurie Kellman and Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press – July 26, 2007

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said Thursday the government’s terrorist surveillance program was the topic of a 2004 hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials, contradicting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ sworn Senate testimony.

Mueller was not in the hospital room at the time of the dramatic March 10, 2004, confrontation between then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and presidential advisers Andy Card and Gonzales, who was then serving as White House counsel. Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee he arrived shortly after they left, and spoke with the ailing Ashcroft.