In response to a question from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Gonzales suggested that the administration could decide it was legal to listen in on a domestic call without supervision if it were related to al-Qaeda.
"I'm not going to rule it out," Gonzales said.
In the past, Gonzales and other officials refused to say whether they had the legal authority to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on domestic calls, and have stressed that the NSA eavesdropping program is focused only on international communications. Gonzales previously testified in the Senate that Bush had considered including purely domestic communications in the NSA spying program, but he said the idea was rejected in part because of fears of a public outcry. He also testified at the time that the Justice Department had not fully analyzed the legal issues of such a move.
In yesterday's testimony, Gonzales reiterated earlier hints that there may be another facet to the NSA program that has not been revealed publicly, or even another program that has prompted dissension within the government.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
DOMESTIC WIRETAPPING POSSIBLE, GONZALES SAYS
Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, told Congress on Thursday that he was "not going to rule it out" when asked about wiretapping of phone calls in the United States. The Washington Post reports:
A classic WIDBI moment -- WIBDI being our acronym for What If Bill Did It? If Clinton ordered up a round of wiretaps on phones in the United States and cited a "terrorist threat," Republicans in Congress would call him a tyrant. When George W. Bush does it, we're supposed to salute the flag. Pardon us, but screw that noise.