“The Senate and House Intelligence Committees are asking former attorney general John Ashcroft to testify about a March 2004 hospital-room confrontation during which he refused to sign off on a continuation of President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program.”
The sources, who asked not to identified talking about sensitive matters, said the Senate Intelligence Committee has tentatively scheduled a closed-door hearing for later this month. The panel plans to question Ashcroft, his former chief of staff David Ayres and former deputy attorney general James Comey about a heated dispute with the White House that roiled the Justice Department three years ago. The House committee is also planning a separate closed-door hearing with Ashcroft, according to a spokeswoman for Ashcroft.
The requests for Ashcroft’s testimony reflect the mounting frustration on the part of committee leaders in both chambers who feel they have been denied vital information about the wiretapping issue by the Bush administration.