Gonzales’ Testimony on Surveillance Was ‘Confusing, Inaccurate, and … Misleading’
Ah, Alberto Gonzales. After the then-Attorney General presented a slippery account to the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2007 of, among other subjects, the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance efforts, a group of Democratic senators quickly moved to investigate Gonzales for perjury. The immediate issue was Gonzales’ assertion that Justice Department employees did not have “reservations” or “concerns” about the legality of the surveillance efforts, when, in fact, former deputy attorney general James Comey had testified in May 2007 that he refused to certify the efforts as legal in March 2004. Most senior Justice and FBI officials even threatened to quit when the administration sought to override Comey.
So what does today’s Inspectors General report say about Gonzales?
[T]he DOJ [Inspector General] concluded that Gonzales, as a participant in the March 2004 dispute between the White House and DOJ and, more importantly, as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, had a duty to balance his obligation not to disclose classified information with the need not to be misleading in his testimony about the events that nearly led to resignations of several senior officials at DOJ and the FBI. The DOJ [Inspector General] concluded that Gonzales did not intend to mislead Congress, but it found that his testimony was confusing, inaccurate, and had the effect of misleading those who were not knowledgeable about the program.
Gonzales, by the way, was just hired by Texas Tech’s political science department.