Spy Chief Defends Gonzalez

By: AP
By: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush's spy chief is defending Attorney General Alberto Gonzales against charges of lying to Congress.

At issue is whether Gonzales told the truth about a 2004 conversation he'd had with then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was in the hospital. Gonzales was White House counsel at the time.

Gonzales told Congress the conversation was not about President Bush's secret eavesdropping program, dubbed the terrorist surveillance program, or TSP. But in his own congressional testimony, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the TSP was the program at issue during the hospital meeting.

In a carefully worded letter that never mentions Gonzales, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell says the program wasn't named TSP by the administration until 2006.

Senators critical of Gonzales are dismissing the McConnell letter as meaningless.

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