Where are the denials?

Tony Snow says James Comey gave "his side" of the story. Is there another?

Published May 16, 2007 8:54PM (EDT)

One more question about James Comey's extraordinary testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday: If Comey is wrong -- if Andy Card and Alberto Gonzales didn't try to take advantage of a desperately ill and disoriented John Ashcroft to get authorization for a warrantless wiretap program the Justice Department had already rejected; if FBI Director Robert Mueller wasn't so worried about what Card and Gonzales were doing that he didn't order his agents to keep them from removing Comey from Ashcroft's hospital room -- then why isn't anyone denying Comey's account today?

As the New York Times reported this morning, spokesmen for Ashcroft, Mueller and the Department of Justice have all declined to comment on Comey's accusations, and Card didn't respond to a reporter's inquiries about them.

At the White House today, Tony Snow said that Comey had given "his side of what transpired that day." But if there's some other "side" of the story, Snow didn't give any hint as to what it might be. And really, why should he even bother? As Media Matters notes, the mainstream media thinks so little of this story that CBS and ABC didn't even mention Comey's testimony during their evening newscasts Tuesday night.

As for Gonzales? A reporter asked Chuck Schumer today whether the Senate Judiciary Committee will be inviting the attorney general to testify about what he remembers of the hospital visit. Schumer's perfectly reasonable response: "Well, that's something that we'll have to consider. But given his past testimony -- [the] 'I don't knows,' his evasive answers, to put it even charitably -- it's something we'd have to consider, but I'm not sure it would produce anything more."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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