WASHINGTON, July 26 -- The director of the F.B.I. offered testimony Thursday that sharply conflicted with Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's sworn statements about a 2004 confrontation in which top Justice Department officials threatened to resign over a secret intelligence operation.
The director, Robert S. Mueller III, told the House Judiciary Committee that the confrontation was about the National Security Agency's counterterrorist eavesdropping program, describing it as "an N.S.A. program that has been much discussed." His testimony was a serious blow to Mr. Gonzales, who insisted at a Senate hearing on Tuesday that there were no disagreements inside the Bush administration about the program at the time of those discussions or at any other time.
Doubts about Mr. Gonzales's version of events in March 2004 grew after James B. Comey, the former deputy attorney general, testified in May that he and other Justice Department officials were prepared to resign over legal objections to an intelligence program that appeared to be the N.S.A. program.
Mr. Gonzales's testimony Tuesday was his first since Mr. Comey’s account drew national attention. He stuck to his account, repeatedly saying that the dispute involved a different intelligence activity.
Mr. Gonzales described an emergency meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House on March 10, 2004, to discuss the dispute. That evening, he and the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., went to the hospital bedside of Mr. Ashcroft in an unsuccessful effort to get his reauthorization for the secret program.
Lawmakers present at the afternoon meeting have given various accounts, but several have said that only one program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was discussed.
In addition, in testimony last year, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was the N.S.A. director when the program started and now heads the Central Intelligence Agency, said the March 2004 meeting involved the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
Having nothing to say about the criminality in the highest reaches of the Bush Administration, the law-despising wingnuts are left to natter on about irrelevancies in a private's diaries.
And look for the deathly silence to continue concerning these crimes and coverups.
Update (7/27): Sully agrees with
me the obvious (maybe he was my 3 millionth visitor!):
Oh, and, by the way, the attorney-general has clearly been fingered for perjury by the evidence of the FBI director. Here appears to be a proven untruth under oath by the attorney-general. Now do you have an idea why the entire right-wing blogosphere is frothing at the mouth about a story whose primary controversial fact has actually checked out?