Newsweek: Ashcroft Refused Extension of Warrantless Eavesdropping
Earlier I wrote about today's New York Times article highlighting Alberto Gonzales' and Andrew Cards' 2004 hospital visit to former Attorney General John Ashcroft to get him to sign off on an extension of Bush's warrantless NSA electronic surveillance program.
The Times implies, but does not state, that Ashcroft refused. Newsweek confirms his refusal:
in March 2004, White House chief of staff Card and White House Counsel Gonzales visited Ashcroft, the seriously ill attorney general, to try to get him to overrule Comey, who was officially acting as A.G. while Ashcroft was incapacitated. Ashcroft refused, and a battle over what to do broke out in the Justice Department and at the White House. Finally, sometime in the summer of 2004, a compromise was reached, with Comey onboard: according to an account in The New York Times, Justice and the NSA refined a checklist to follow in deciding whether "probable cause" existed to start monitoring someone's conversations.
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