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AP: Acting AG Refused to Reauthorize Spying Program in 2004

DEEPLINKS BLOG
May 15, 2007

The AP reports:

"President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program was so questionable that a top Justice Department official refused for a time to reauthorize it, sparking a battle with top White House officials at the bedside of an ailing attorney general, a Senate panel was told Tuesday.

"Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he refused to recertify the program because Attorney General John Ashcroft had reservations about its legality just before falling ill with pancreatitis in March 2004."

On January 1, 2006, the NY Times recounted a similar set of events, though Mr. Comey declined to comment on the story.

During his testimony Tuesday, Comey stated "The program was reauthorized without us and without a signature from the Department of Justice attesting as to its legality." You can read the full transcript of Comey's testimony here.

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