Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) charged yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales misled the Senate during his confirmation hearing a year ago when he appeared to try to avoid answering a question about whether the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.So if Gonzales had any knowledge when he testified that the NSA eavesdropping program was underway -- and it's difficult to believe he couldn't have known -- his January 2005 testimony amounted to a lie.
In a letter to the attorney general yesterday, Feingold demanded to know why Gonzales dismissed the senator's question about warrantless eavesdropping as a "hypothetical situation" during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January 2005.
At the hearing .... [Gonzales] added that he would hope to alert Congress if the president ever chose to authorize warrantless surveillance, according to a transcript of the hearing.
In fact, the president did secretly authorize the National Security Agency to begin warrantless monitoring of calls and e-mails ... soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
... Gonzales was White House counsel at the time the program began and has since acknowledged his role in affirming the president's authority to launch the surveillance effort.
This story deserves a little higher priority than page A-7 of The Post.