Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sic 'im, Russ! Feingold Calls Gonzales on Apparent Wiretap Deception in Confimation Hearings

Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps
Feingold Says Attorney General Misled Senators in Hearings
By Carol D. Leonnig Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 31, 2006; Page A07
Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) charged yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales misled the Senate during his confirmation hearing a year ago when he appeared to try to avoid answering a question about whether the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.
In a letter to the attorney general yesterday, Feingold demanded to know why Gonzales dismissed the senator's question about warrantless eavesdropping as a "hypothetical situation" during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January 2005. At the hearing, Feingold asked Gonzales where the president's authority ends and whether Gonzales believed the president could, for example, act in contravention of existing criminal laws and spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant. Sen. Russell Feingold asked about warrantless eavesdropping, and the nominee called it "hypothetical."
Gonzales said that it was impossible to answer such a hypothetical question but that it was "not the policy or the agenda of this president" to authorize actions that conflict with existing law. He added that he would hope to alert Congress if the president ever chose to authorize warrantless surveillance, according to a transcript of the hearing.

Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps


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