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Mueller: Comey Was Talking About "Much Discussed" NSA Program
Spencer Ackerman –
It gets worse and worse for Alberto Gonzales. Today, the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, dealt a serious blow to Gonzales's sworn Senate testimony on Tuesday, just hours after Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation into the attorney general.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, under questioning from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), conceded that he and James Comey had concerns about the "much discussed" National Security Agency surveillance program. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that Comey had legal objections to "other intelligence activities" than the "much-discussed" Terrorist Surveillance Program. For Gonzales to beat a perjury rap, he must maintain the distinction he created on Tuesday between the TSP and whatever it is Comey is alleged to have dissented from. In the span of a few short seconds, Mueller went a long way toward collapsing the difference.
It's true that Mueller doesn't come out and say the words "Terrorist Surveillance Program," but Lee's questioning left no doubt that Mueller was referring to precisely that program.
Lee: Did you have an understanding that the discussion was on TSP?
Mueller: I had an understanding that the discussion was on a, uh, a, uh -- an NSA program, yes.
Lee: I guess we use "TSP," we use "warrantless wiretapping," so would I be comfortable in saying that those were the items that were part of the discussion?
Mueller: The discussion was on a National -- uh, NSA program that has been much discussed, yes.
Mueller was smiling when he finished saying that. You can bet Gonzales wasn't.