Leahy gives Gonzales one week to resolve inconsistent testimony

[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said Sunday that US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile; JURIST news archive] may be the subject of a perjury investigation if he does not clear up concerns regarding the truthfulness of his testimony about warrantless wiretapping. Speaking on CBS News' Face the Nation program, Leahy gave Gonzales one week to resolve inconsistencies [transcript, PDF], saying:

he answered under oath at great length. I think a lot of us, Republicans and Democrats, were incredulous at some of the answers. I told him, frankly, I don't trust him. But, in fairness, I've given him this--the testimony. He has a week to correct it if he wants. I suggest he consult with a lawyer as he does it. If he doesn't correct it, then I think that there are so many errors in there that the pressure will be very, very heavy, whether it's a special prosecutor, special counsel efforts within the--within the Congress.

The irony is, though, the Department of Justice, which is supposed to be very impartial--it's supposed to be impartial law enforcement--is being shredded by his activities. And if you lose confidence in law enforcement, it hurts everybody all the way down to the cop on the beat. Frankly, at this point, the president ought to take a long look at this and ask does he want to go down in history with this attorney general as part of his historical record?
Appearing on the same program, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee said that calls for a special prosecutor [JURIST report] to investigate Gonzales for perjury were "premature." Specter, however, said that the Justice Department has "been dysfunctional for a long time" and that it was important for the committee to "find out what the facts are so that we can formulate public policy and legislation and get the Department of Justice back on its feet."

Last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller contradicted testimony [JURIST report] given by Gonzales concerning a 2004 discussion of intelligence activities. Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee [hearing materials] Thursday that there was dissent within the administration concerning the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive], but Gonzales said Tuesday that then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey did not express concerns about recertifying the program. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee [transcript] Tuesday, Gonzales insisted that Comey's reservations concerned another undisclosed intelligence program and not the domestic surveillance program as widely reported. There have also been recent reports that a 2006 Director of National Intelligence memorandum contradicts Gonzales' testimony [JURIST report] on reauthorization of the surveillance program and that a 2004 FBI memorandum [JURIST report] contradicts testimony Gonzales provided in 2005 on renewal of the Patriot Act. AP has more.


 

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