Let me tell you something I thought would never happen.
I never thought in a million jillion gazillion years that I would say, “Thank the Baby Jebus for John Ashcroft.”
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft confirmed the Bush administration was sharply divided over the legality of President Bush’s most controversial eavesdropping work, the chairman of a congressional panel said Thursday.
“It is very apparent to us that there was robust and enormous debate within the administration about the legal basis for the president’s surveillance program,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Ashcroft.
That would appear to contradict Gonzo’s Congressional testimony that there was never “significant disagreement within the administration over the program.”
Ashcroft’s confirmation of James Comey’s testimony is relevant to two ongoing Congressional investigations: “the House and Senate Intelligence committees’ ongoing review of 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which includes an extensive examination of the president’s warrantless eavesdropping program” and “the House and Senate Judiciary Committees’ parallel examinations of current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s service to the administration,” from which stemmed Comey’s testimony about Gonzo trying to weasel a sign-off on the legality of the wiretapping program from either/both of Comey and Ashcroft while Ashcroft was critically ill and hospital-bound.
[T]he Senate Judiciary Committee authorized–but did not issue–subpoenas to Gonzales and to the custodian of records at the Executive Office of the President for all administration documents on the legality of the program. The panel approved giving Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., authority to issue the subpoenas, 13-3, with Republican Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa voting with the Democrats.
Things, in other words, continue to get interesting.