So the question is, why aren’t you willing — if those are prohibited, why aren’t you willing to prohibit the other kinds of activities that were outlined earlier, in terms of the waterboarding, in terms of stress, dogs, nudity, mock executions?
GONZALES: Senator, there are certain activities that are clearly beyond the pale and that everyone would agree should be prohibited. And so, obviously, the president is very, very supportive of those actions that are identified by its terms in the executive order.
There are certain other activities where it is not so clear, Senator. And, again, it’s for those reasons that I can’t discuss them in the public … of course, the president said we’re not going to torture. We’re bound by both the international law — we don’t engage in torture.
And finally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., trying to get something new out of Gonzales on the U.S. attorney firings:
FEINSTEIN: Oh, no — total. How many names have you approved for firing?
GONZALES: You mean total, for cause, not for cause? I’d have to get back to you on that.
FEINSTEIN: There were seven on December 7.
GONZALES: Seven on December 7.
FEINSTEIN: We’re now up to nine that we know about. How many — this is important — how many U.S. attorneys did you approve to be summarily fired?
GONZALES: Senator, there may have been others. I would be happy to get back to you with that kind of information about who has left. But I don’t know the answer to your question. But I can certainly find out.
FEINSTEIN: You don’t know, after all we’ve been through, the hearing after hearing after hearing?
GONZALES: Well, in connection with this review process that Mr. [Kyle] Sampson was coordinating, what was presented to me was a list of seven individuals, on December 7. And so those are the seven that I accepted the recommendation to ask for resignation … I’m not aware, sitting here today, of any other U.S. attorney who was asked to leave, except there were some instances where people were asked to leave, quite frankly, because there was legitimate cause.
FEINSTEIN: So you’re saying these were asked to leave because the cause was not legitimate?
GONZALES: I’m not saying — no, what I’m saying is wrongdoing, misconduct. There may been some — in fact, I’m sure there were others …
FEINSTEIN: What kind of misconduct?
GONZALES: Well, for — and I’m not suggesting any of this conduct happened, but, for example, an inappropriate relationship, taking action where you have a direct conflict of interest, to help out a buddy, making a — you know, those kinds of — something like that, I would say, would constitute misconduct. And there …
FEINSTEIN: Were those specific things involved in any U.S. attorney that was terminated?
LEAHY: Good question.
GONZALES: No. With respect to the seven and with respect to Mr. Cummins and with respect to Mr. Graves, I am not aware that — certainly, it wasn’t, in my mind, a problem or basis to accept the recommendation that they be asked to leave.
Even the audience got involved with the heated exchanges. When the committee broke for recess, and again at the end of the hearing, a chorus of voices screamed “Resign!”