Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader who received briefings on the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance programs, says Alberto Gonzales isn't telling the truth about what Senate and House leaders were told in March 2004 about the program's utility and legality.
In testimony today to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales attempted to give "context"
for his infamous hospital trip to a convalescent John Ashcroft on March 10, 2004, after acting attorney general James Comey refused to authorize the surveillance program. It was only after a briefing for the so-called "Gang of Eight" bipartisan congressional leaders demanded that the program continue, Gonzales said, that he and then-White House chief of staff went to "inform" Ashcroft of the Gang's wishes.
Daschle was one of that Gang of Eight. In a statement e-mailed to TPMmuckraker, he all but calls Gonzales a liar.
"I have no recollection of such a meeting and believe that it didn't occur. I am quite certain that at no time did we encourage the AG or anyone else to take such actions. This appears to be another attempt to rewrite history just as they have attempted to do with the war resolution."
Daschle's statement bolsters one that his former Gang of Eight colleague, Senate intelligence committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), gave to Dan Eggen
of the Washington Post
: Gonzales is "once again is making something up to protect himself," Rockefeller said.