May 18, 2007 | By Derek Slater

House Judiciary Members Demand Answers About NSA Spying

Four senators pressed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this week to come clean about the relationship between the NSA spying program and former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's dramatic testimony about a controversial classified program. The Department of Justice declined to change its previous testimony, but Congress isn't backing off.

Now House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler have written to Gonzales demanding more information about the still-shadowy NSA program. Along with asking for information related to Comey's testimony, they stated:

"We similarly remain extremely concerned about your continuing refusal to provide access for House Judiciary Committee members to information on the Administration?s current version of the domestic wiretapping program described in your January 17, 2007, letter to House and Senate members. We believe that your refusal violates applicable legal requirements and precedents, and threatens to effectively eliminate meaningful Judiciary Committee oversight and legislative activity concerning this crucial issue."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post offered its read on the Justice Department's "lack of candor" in an editorial called "The Gonzales Coverup":

"If you were Mr. Gonzales, you'd certainly want to make sure [Comey and former Attorney General John Ashcroft] stayed quiet. Consider: Mr. Gonzales, as the president's lawyer, went to the hospital room of a man so ill he had temporarily relinquished his authority. There, Mr. Gonzales tried to persuade Mr. Ashcroft to override the views of the attorney general's own legal counsel. When the attorney general refused, Mr. Gonzales apparently took part in a plan to go forward with a program that the Justice Department had refused to certify as legal....

"What was the administration doing, and what was it willing to continue to do, that its lawyers concluded was without a legal basis? Without an answer to that fundamental question, the coverup will have succeeded."

The LA Times and NY Times (among others) also pushed Congress to immediately investigate the spying program. And you should too -- make your voice heard now through our action center.


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