It depends on what the meaning of the word "in" is

Alberto Gonzales explains himself, again.

Published August 6, 2007 2:59PM (EDT)

When Alberto Gonzales appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 24, Sen. Ted Kennedy asked him about the political briefings Karl Rove and his aides have given to Bush administration officials in various federal agencies.

Kennedy: Has Karl Rove or anyone from his office given similar briefings to the leadership in the Department of Justice?

Gonzales: Not that I'm aware of.

Kennedy: Well, you would know if he had.

Gonzales: I would think so. But I don't believe so, sir.

It turns out that -- and we know you'll be shocked to hear this -- Gonzales' testimony wasn't exactly accurate. As the Washington Post reported over the weekend, "Justice officials attended 12 political briefings at the White House, and another held at the Department of Agriculture, from 2001 to 2006. The Post says that at least five of the meetings featured a presentation from Rove or an appearance by Rove himself.

So was the attorney general wrong? Not according to him. How's that? We'll let him explain:

While Gonzales acknowledges, in a letter sent to the Judiciary Committee on Friday, that while "some political appointees may have attended briefings at the White House," he is "not aware" of the "political briefings ... referenced in Sen. Kennedy's question, occurring at the Department of Justice."

The emphasis is ours. The evasion is the attorney general's.

By Tim Grieve

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

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