Former and Future AGs Clashed on Wiretaps

A former Justice Department official testified today that he rushed to the bedside of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in an effort to thwart approval of the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said his boss had reservations about the program before being admitted to the hospital for pancreatitis, according to an Associated Press account of his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ashcroft refused to give his approval, saying Comey had the powers of attorney general while he was hospitalized. The White House continued with the program anyway for about three weeks before changes were made.

Comey said he considered resigning over the program, as did Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and other Justice Department officials.

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