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Taking Texas And The Nation Back

Conyers and Nadler Write to AG Gonzales

Posted by nytexan on May 17, 2007

From the Gavel

Conyers and Nadler Write to AG Gonzales: May 17th, 2007 by Jesse Lee

Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urgently requesting answers to specific questions as well as greater access to information on the NSA’s domestic wiretapping program, in light of new revelations from Deputy Attorney General James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Comey described, in great detail, former White House Counsel Gonzales’ attempt to override Justice Department recommendations not to re-certify the program.

The letter asks for responses to the following questions:

1) Is Mr. Comey’s testimony about the events of March, 2004 as provided this week to the Senate Judiciary Committee (a copy of which is enclosed with this letter) accurate and, if not, please explain your version of what happened; 2) Was the classified program referred to by Mr. Comey the Terrorist Surveillance Program, as it existed prior to the changes made according to the Justice Department’s recommendations and, if not, what was the classified program that Mr. Comey was referring to? 3) Who was involved in deciding to seek approval from Attorney General Ashcroft from his hospital bed and who made the telephone call to arrange your visit to his bedside; 4) What was the basis for the Administration’s decision on March 10-11 to continue with the program despite the Department’s objections, how long did it so continue. Please provide copies of any legal or other memoranda on the subject; 5) What was the basis for the Department’s objections to the program. Please provide copies of any Office of Legal Counsel or other documents relating to those objections; and 6) What changes were made to the program to resolve the Department’s objections?

Chairman Conyers said of the letter:

“Mr. Comey’s testimony raises serious questions about the NSA program and the White House’s heavy-handed determination to continue it. This Committee’s oversight authority extends to the legality of the program and we refuse to take the Department’s stonewalling lightly. While it seems that attempts to ignore Congressional authority have become all too familiar at the Department, the days of the Administration’s ‘oversight free’ reign are over. We will demand accountability from Mr. Gonzales and the Administration.”

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