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Comey’s Testimony Reveals Gonzales’ Role in Wiretapping

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate Tuesday on a 2004 standoff between himself and then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales over President Bush's wiretapping program. Margaret Warner reports on Comey's testimony.

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  • JAMES COMEY, Former Deputy Attorney General:

    That night was probably the most difficult night of my professional life, so it's not something I forget.


    With that, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, appearing yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, began his dramatic description of the events of Wednesday, March 10, 2004.

    Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft had just undergone emergency gallbladder surgery at George Washington University Hospital, and Comey was serving as acting attorney general. At that same time, White House officials were seeking Justice Department recertification of the secret domestic wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency.

    Comey said he and Ashcroft had discussed the program a week earlier and had decided against recertifying it.


    Over the next week, particularly the following week, on Tuesday, we communicated to the relevant parties at the White House and elsewhere our decision that, as acting attorney general, I would not certify the program as to its legality, and explained our reasoning in detail…

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