Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Gonzales Lied, Film at 11

The AP reports that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied to Congress the other day when he claimed that the now-famous hospital trip to get John Ashcroft to sign off on the legality of an anti-terror program was not the warrantless wiretapping program, or TSP. Gonzales claimed that they only went there to inform Ashcroft that the Congressional leadership, with whom they had recently met, wanted the program reapproved. But he also claimed that the program in question was not the Terrorist Surveillance Program or TSP. But documents show that the program about which they had met with Congressional leaders just before the trip to see Ashcroft was, in fact, the TSP:

At a heated Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Gonzales repeatedly testified that the issue at hand was not about the terrorist surveillance program, which allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on suspects in the United States without receiving court approval.

Instead, Gonzales said, the emergency meetings on March 10, 2004, focused on an intelligence program that he would not describe.

Gonzales, who was then serving as counsel to Bush, testified that the White House Situation Room briefing sought to inform congressional leaders about the pending expiration of the unidentified program and Justice Department objections to renew it. Those objections were led by then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey, who questioned the program’s legality.

“The dissent related to other intelligence activities,” Gonzales testified at Tuesday’s hearing. “The dissent was not about the terrorist surveillance program.”

“Not the TSP?” responded Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “Come on. If you say it’s about other, that implies not. Now say it or not.”

“It was not,” Gonzales answered. “It was about other intelligence activities.”

Here’s the problem:

A four-page memo from the national intelligence director’s office shows that the White House briefing with the eight lawmakers on March 10, 2004, was about the terror surveillance program, or TSP.

The memo, dated May 17, 2006, and addressed to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, details “the classification of the dates, locations, and names of members of Congress who attended briefings on the Terrorist Surveillance Program,” wrote then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.

Can you say “perjury”? I knew that you could.