Anonymous Liberal went back over Gonzales’ testimony before Congress to try and determine how strong an argument can be made (based on what is known) that he lied. The case is pretty compelling.
Basically, as I understand it Abu tried to get cute by saying that the program which Bush confirmed the existence of in 2005 (after the NYT broke the story) was one they called the “Terrorist Surveillance Project” (TSP). Gonzales told Congress repeatedly that it was a different program than the TSP that Comey, Goldsmith and others objected to. As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, prior to March 2004 the TSP was probably part of a larger, more far-reaching (and more frightening) program than the TSP.
Fine. Let’s assume it was. He can’t have it both ways. Let’s say that larger program, which we’ll call “Program X” included programs A, B and some incarnation of C (TSP). After Abu’s midnight rendezvous at Ashcroft’s hospital, they kill A and B. Gonzales might be consistent in saying that X and C (TSP) are technically different programs. But he can’t then insist that the Gang of 8 were briefed on C (TSP) if they were actually briefed on X, and he can’t say that “there has not been any serious disagreement about the program that the President has confirmed” (C) because as Pelosi, Rockafellow, Daschle and others have said, they absolutely objected to what they were briefed on.
As AL says:
So Gonzales can’t now claim that he was only testifying about the post-2004 version of the program. Both he and the President made it abundantly clear that they were talking about a program that had been in existence since shortly after 9/11. And by all accounts, it is that very program that the entire upper echelon of the Justice Department was prepared to resign over in March 2004. So when Gonzales testified that there had “not been any serious disagreement” about the program and that Comey and Goldsmith’s objections related to “other activities,” it seems pretty clear that he
committed perjurylied to Congress [again, he wasn’t under oath]. If you are going to rely on implicit definitional distinctions, you have to at least be consistent with them. When Gonzales’ statements are put in the context of his overall testimony and the President’s statement (which he incorporated by reference), it’s pretty clear that Gonzales intentionally misled Congress. And about a highly relevant fact, i.e., that there had been massive internal dissent over the legality of the program.
It’s complicated, and making a clear, simple case for the public that Abu is an abject liar is going to be difficult But he needs to be in the employment line pronto. It’s gotta happen.