Report Says Alberto Gonzales Mishandled Classified Information
Posted Sep 2, 2008 6:19 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Updated: An inspector general’s report released today concludes that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales mishandled classified information about the government’s warrantless wiretapping program and the interrogation of terrorism detainees.
The report says Gonzales took notes about the wiretap program at home at one point and stored them in his briefcase, apparently because he did not know the combination to his safe, report the Associated Press and the Washington Post. He also stored classified documents in a safe at his office that could be accessed by persons without the required security clearances, the report says.
Officials in the Justice Department’s national security division reviewed the evidence but do not believe it merits prosecution, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement.
The Washington Post had news of the report this morning, before it was released.
Gonzales did not properly secure notes about eavesdropping initiatives taken during a March 2004 meeting between President Bush and congressional leaders, according to the Post accounts. Gonzales carried the notes in a briefcase back and forth to his home.
Gonzales told investigators he did not remember if he took the notes home and was unaware they contained classified information, the Washington Post story says. The investigation was later broadened beyond the notes to include the mishandling of 17 other documents, including legal opinions on interrogation tactics.
Gonzales' lawyer, George Terwilliger, said Gonzales did not mishandle the documents on purpose. Either he was forgetful or unaware of the proper procedures, he said. There is no evidence that anyone without the proper clearances actually viewed the documents, he added.
Updated at 10:40 a.m. to include new information from Associated Press and Washington Post stories about the release of the report.