Senate Subpoenas White House, Cheney's Office
Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 12:23 pm
By: News On 6
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush's warrant-free eavesdropping program.
Also named in subpoenas signed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., were the Justice Department and the National Security Council.
The committee wants documents that might shed light on internal squabbles within the administration over the legality of the program, said a congressional official speaking on condition of anonymity because the subpoenas had not been made public.
Leahy's committee authorized the subpoenas previously as part of its sweeping investigation into how much influence the White House exerts over the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The probe, in its sixth month, began with an investigation into whether administration officials ordered the firings of eight federal prosecutors, for political reasons.
But with senators of both parties already concerned about the constitutionality of the administration's efforts to root out terrorism suspects in the United States, the committee shifted to the broader question of Gonzales' stewardship of Justice and, in particular, his willingness to permit the wiretapping program.
Piquing the committee's interest was vivid testimony last month by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey about the extent of the White House's effort to override the Justice Department's objections to the program in 2004.
Comey told the Judiciary Committee that Gonzales, then-White House counsel, tried to get Attorney General John Ashcroft to reverse course and recertify the program. At the time, Ashcroft lay in intensive care, recovering form gall bladder surgery.