This centers around a meeting held on March 10, 2004 with members of the Bush Administration and the "Gang of 8", members of Congress who head up intelligence committees. The topic discussed was — well, that’s the issue. Here’s what Alberto Gonzales said under oath on Tuesday:
At a heated Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Gonzales repeatedly testified that the issue at hand was not about the terrorist surveillance program….Instead, Gonzales said, the emergency meetings on March 10, 2004, focused on an intelligence program that he would not describe.
Gonzales, who was then serving as counsel to Bush, testified that the White House Situation Room briefing sought to inform congressional leaders about the pending expiration of the unidentified program and Justice Department objections to renew it.
…."Not the TSP?" responded Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. "Come on. If you say it’s about other, that implies not. Now say it or not."
"It was not," Gonzales answered. "It was about other intelligence activities."
Other intelligence activities? Not the TSP? Despite the recollections of other participants that the meeting on that day was precisely about the TSP?
Well, guess what? It turns out the dates of all the TSP meetings were the subject of a memo from John Negroponte last year. So it’s all down on paper. And you know what date shows up? March 10, 2004.
Short version: Gonzales lied (again) before Congress.
Olbermann does a good job of breaking it down. As the reporter says, "this is a really, really big deal and a big problem for Gonzales. … The legal expert I talked to tonight said this is a clear case of perjury."
CNN is on this, too. Well, everybody is, I guess. When the nation’s top lawyer commits perjury, you know the nation is deep in the crapper.
Hardin-Smith offers advice:
Here’s a tip for Bush Administration cronies: if you are going to lie under oath, on the record, with a video camera in your face, don’t lie about something for which there is documentary evidence directly contradicting your statements. It makes you look unprepared, panicked and sloppy. Even petty thieves get their stories straighter than this in magistrate courts across the nation. Juries still find them guilty, and see right through their lying skeezeball stories, but at least they have enough pride in their thievery to put a little work into covering their own asses. It’s especially pathetic when you are given a number of the questions in advance.
Flashback a few months ago to an interesting conversation between Bill Moyers and Jon Stewart regarding Gonzales:
Glenn Greenwald on Gonzales: “That is what Alberto Gonzales does. He lies to protect the President. And the President will never fire him. Gonzales isn’t keeping his job despite his willingness to lie to Congress, but because of it. Congress has no choice but to act meaningfully — impeachment of Gonzales and a Special Prosecutor — and if they do not, then, I suppose, one could say that Congress deserves to be lied to.”
UPDATE: Oh, man — as the day gets on, it gets even worse for Gonzales:
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said Thursday the government’s terrorist surveillance program was the topic of a 2004 hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials, contradicting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ sworn Senate testimony.
Mueller’s statement came hours after Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation against Gonzales and subpoenaed top presidential aide Karl Rove in a deepening political and legal clash with the Bush administration.