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50 Blogs for Feingold Action Team
“It's time to stand up - not to cheer, but to fight back.”
--Senator Russ Feingold, On Executive Power. (Daily Kos, 2006-02-02)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Feingold, Gonzales, and Kris: The Wiretapping Saga

Russ is working the illegal wiretapping issue hard, and deserves some recognition for it. It's a little tricky, but we can break it down into easy-to-digest pieces.

Let's start with the testimony of then-Associate Attorney General David Kris before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 10, 2002:
"Thus, both before and after the Patriot Act, FISA can be used only against foreign powers and their agents, and only where there is at least a significant foreign intelligence purpose for the surveillance. Let me repeat for emphasis: We cannot monitor anyone today whom we could not have monitored at this time last year."
This, we've learned, was false testimony. Bush admitted that he'd authorized domestic wiretaps without FISA warrants. Gonzales has testified to the fact that it was false testimony.

So, why not bring Kris up on charges of perjury? Well, the apparent answer was that he didn't know he was giving false testimony. This point seems capitulated, at least for the sake of argument.

But it brings up another point.

Did senior officials at the Department of Justice know that Kris's testimony was wrong, and did these persons allow him to mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue?

Russ put that question to Alberto Gonzales yesterday in a letter. Here's an excerpt:
It was therefore incumbent upon senior officials who reviewed the testimony to make sure that the Committee was not misled.

It is unacceptable, under the circumstances, for you to decline to answer my specific question simply because it is normally against DOJ policy to disclose who approved testimony by Administration officials. The Judiciary Committee is entitled to know what senior officials allowed misleading testimony to be presented at the hearing on September 10, 2002.
At least three Senators, Feingold, Leahy, and Specter aren't satisfied with Gonzales's testimony, and there is talk of recalling him for clarification in the near future.

Leahy says that Gonzales needs to "clear up the confusion he created first by ducking our questions, and later by further clouding the issues with a 'clarifying' letter that substantially revised his unsworn testimony." I agree.

Technorati Tags: Russ Feingold,Wiretapping, Politics, Current Affairs, Random,News and Politics, 2008, FISA.