Yesterday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) gave the “Bush administration 18 hours to resolve the controversy over apparent contradictions in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s congressional testimony” about domestic spying programs. Specter stated:
Given the difficulty of discussing classified matters in public, I think it is preferable to have a letter addressing that question [of Gonzales’ veracity] from the administration…by noon tomorrow, which will be made available to the news media. The administration has committed to producing such a letter.
But in today’s White House press briefing, spokesman Tony Snow said that while the administration plans to submit a letter, it “will be a little bit later. It’s not quite meeting the noon deadline. But he will in fact get a response today.” Watch it:
Later in the briefing, Snow hinted that the response may not be coming from the White House, but instead from the Justice Department.
QUESTION: Tony, has a letter gone to the Hill, specifically to Senator Specter, concerning Alberto Gonzales?
SNOW: No. There will be something going up to the Hill. It will be a little bit later. It’s not quite meeting the noon deadline. But he in fact will get a response today.
First, we thank Senator Specter. He agreed to get himself read into the program yesterday. He received a briefing and he had some questions. And those questions are going to be answered. They’ll be answered in the course of the day. But they have not yet been provided. We expect within the next few hours that he’ll have a full response.
QUESTION: Tony, following on that, Senator Specter put out this statement saying that the letter would be available to the news media, it would address the questions about the attorney general testifying accurately.
You had an interesting time trying to parse the different language the other day when we pressed about it. How will this letter…
SNOW: I will let the documents speak for themselves and he’ll have an opportunity.
QUESTION: Who put it together?
SNOW: Again, at this point — it’s not coming out of the White House.
QUESTION: To clarify this letter, you say it’s not coming from White House. It’s coming from the Justice Department?
SNOW: They will hear — he will hear from the Justice Department.