White House Secrecy On Wiretaps Described – washingtonpost.com

Blogger Thoughts: Gonzales really didn’t know squat.

White House Secrecy On Wiretaps Described – washingtonpost.com

No more than four Justice Department officials had access to details of the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program when the department deemed portions of it illegal, following a pattern of poor consultation that helped create a “legal mess,” a former Justice official told Congress yesterday.

Jack L. Goldsmith, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the White House so tightly restricted access to the National Security Agency‘s program that even the attorney general and the NSA’s general counsel were partly in the dark.

When the Justice Department began a formal review of the program’s legal underpinnings in late 2003, the White House initially resisted allowing then-Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey to be briefed on it, Goldsmith said.

clipped from www.msnbc.msn.com

Ex-Justice lawyer says wiretap program illegal

Parts of government surveillance have no legal backing, former adviser says

WASHINGTON – A former top lawyer for the Bush administration on Tuesday said that parts of the government’s much-criticized eavesdropping program were illegal.

There were aspects of the Terrorist Surveillance Program “that I could not find the legal support for,” Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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