We said, and many agreed, that we were amazed that Gonzales actually made us miss Ashcroft, but we had no idea how true this was. Check this out:
On the night of March 10, 2004, as Attorney General John D. Ashcroft lay ill in an intensive-care unit, his deputy, James B. Comey, received an urgent call.
White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush’s domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.
In vivid testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Comey said he alerted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and raced, sirens blaring, to join Ashcroft in his hospital room, arriving minutes before Gonzales and Card. Ashcroft, summoning the strength to lift his head and speak, refused to sign the papers they had brought.
Yeah, that’s right; Ashcroft wouldn’t sign off on the illegal wiretapping that his successor embraced so fully. As Wired puts it: “You know a government surveillance program is getting a tad iffy when John Ashcroft balks at giving it his John Hancock, even just for a while.”