While former FBI Director James Comey is much in the news after being fired last week by President Donald Trump, ten years ago today, Comey testified on Capitol Hill about a dramatic behind the scenes encounter when he was the Acting Attorney General during the George W. Bush Administration.
At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007, Comey told of a 2004 dispute over surveillance by the National Security Agency, which the Bush White House wanted renewed – but part of which the Justice Department had decided violated the law, and would not garner their support.
At the time, Comey’s boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, was seriously ill, and being treated at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Top officials from the Bush White House went to Ashcroft’s hospital room to try to get Ashcroft to sign off on the NSA surveillance program – as Comey, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and others dashed to the hospital to try to stop them.
Here is some of Comey’s testimony.
The White House later backed off and agreed to certain changes in the surveillance program, as Comey, Mueller, Ashcroft and others had threatened to resign.