Speaking with the House Judiciary Committee today, FBI director Robert S. Mueller contradicted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ sworn Senate testimony from Tuesday, confirming that the “terrorist surveillance program” run by the National Security Agency (NSA) was the subject of discussion during Gonzales’ controversial visit to former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital bed. Gonzales had testified that it was about “other intelligence activities”. Watch it:
Mueller’s testimony is only the latest evidence suggesting that Gonzales perjured himself before Congress.
— On Tuesday, Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), who were briefed on the program at the March 2004 White House meeting, also confirmed that the NSA program was discussed.
— Yesterday, the AP revealed a four-page, May 2006 memo from then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte confirming that the NSA program was the subject of a March 2004 White House intelligence briefing for top congressional leaders that preceded the hospital visit.
Despite the evidence contradicting Gonzales’ statements to Congress, the White House is refusing to acknowledge the truth. Asked by reporters about the contradiction last night, Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Gonzales “stands by his testimony.” Today, White House spokesperson Tony Snow said Gonzales “was speaking consistently.”
Earlier today, Senate Democrats called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Gonzales has perjured himself.
UPDATE: More at the Gavel.
‘’Did you have an understanding that that the conversation was on TSP?’’ asked Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. TSP stands for terrorist surveillance program.
‘’I had an understanding the discussion was on a NSA program, yes,’’ Mueller answered.
Jackson asked again: ‘’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?’’
“The discussion was on a national NSA program that has been much discussed, yes,” Mueller responded.