Friday, August 17, 2007


"Notes taken by Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. say that Attorney General John Ashcroft was “barely articulate,” “feeble” and “clearly stressed” shortly after a hospital-room meeting in March 2004 in which two top White House aides tried to persuade him to sign an extension for eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.

Mr. Mueller’s notes, based on a visit to Mr. Ashcroft’s room and released Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee, provide a fuller picture of the events surrounding a March 10, 2004, confrontation over the surveillance program. They go beyond the account that Mr. Mueller gave the committee in July and reinforce an account by James B. Comey, the former deputy attorney general who testified in May.

In providing corroboration for Mr. Comey’s version of events, Mr. Mueller’s typewritten entries served to rebut the suggestion of some Bush administration officials who have privately dismissed Mr. Comey’s account of the hospital standoff as an overwrought and one-sided description.

Mr. Mueller said in the notes that he had gone to the hospital after receiving a call from Mr. Comey, arriving at 7:40 p.m. and departing at 8:20. His notes said Mr. Comey had told him that Mr. Ashcroft, who had undergone gall bladder surgery the previous day, was in “no condition” to receive visitors.

Mr. Mueller said Mr. Comey had asked him to intervene with Mr. Ashcroft’s F.B.I. security detail to limit visitors.

'Comey asked me to meet briefly with the AG to see his condition,” he wrote. “He also asked that I inform the detail that no visitors, other than family, were to be allowed to see the AG without my consent (I so informed the detail).' "

Link to full story in the New York Times, Notes Detail Pressure on Ashcroft Over Spying

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