The San Francisco Chronicle reports that lawmakers are still looking for answers about Attorney General Michael Mukasey's strange tale of an unmonitored terrorist phone call. Mukasey gave the account at a speech in San Francisco last month as part of an emotional plea to legalize warrantless wiretapping. But House Judiciary Committee members say this is the first they have heard of such a call.
As Chronicle reporter Bob Egelko has shown in his ongoing investigation, Mukasey's story is difficult for many experts to understand. Our legal analysis shows that the government had the authority to listen in on the call that Mukasey describes. Now, some members in Congress are speculating that the phone call may have already been investigated -- and found to have been actually intercepted, but simply not passed on to other intelligence agencies. We're pleased that both reporters and lawmakers are taking a hard look at Mukasey's story. Congress has some tough decisions to make about surveillance law in the coming months, and Americans should not lose their civil liberties to make up for the government's own failures.