Ashcroft Behind Closed Doors: His Story Contradicts Gonzales’ Testimony Under Oath

Brian Zick

Laurie Kellman for AP reports: The administration was sharply divided over the legality of President Bush's most controversial eavesdropping policies, a congressman quoted former Attorney General John Ashcroft as telling a House panel Thursday."It is very apparent to us that there was robust and enormous debate within the administration about the legal basis for the president's surveillance program," Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Ashcroft. (…) Democrats have insisted that the hospital story appears to contradict Gonzales' congressional testimony that there had been no significant disagreement within the administration over the program. Gonzales has stood by his testimony.In his first public comments on the subject, Ashcroft told reporters he was pleased to cooperate and "to signal that I want to do everything I can to make sure that the framework we have for defeating terror, defending the liberty and security of the United States in the context of our Constitution, that that capacity remains intact and is functioning properly." He refused to take questions.

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