Kept out of the loop

John Ashcroft reportedly complained that the White House wouldn't let him know what he needed to know about warrantless wiretaps.

Published August 17, 2007 12:34PM (EDT)

Defending his warrantless wiretapping program back in January 2006, the president said that because he is "mindful" of Americans' "civil liberties," he had "all kinds of lawyers review the process."

Well, not "all kinds," or at least not the whole "process."

In highly redacted notes released to the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller says that then Attorney General John Ashcroft told Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales during their 2004 visit to his hospital room that "he was barred from obtaining the advice he needed on the program by the strict compartmentalization rules of the [White House]."

By Tim Grieve

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

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