The folks over at TPM have an interesting theory about Gonzales' testimony that's worth a read. TPM speculates that the AG’s testimony on Tuesday was an attempt to parse language while shielding Congress and the public from the still unknown specifics of a surveillance program that eventually evolved into what is now known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program. The TSP has been widely talked about.
What remains untold is how wide ranging the NSA’s surveillance was before being reigned in by the demands of Ashcroft, Comey and Mueller. All three threatened to resign if changes weren’t made – culminating in Gonzales’ visit to a bedridden Ashcroft. The money quote:
In essence, the issue is this: if Gonzales succeeds in convincing the committee that there really is a material distinction between the program as it existed before and after Comey’s intervention, he won't just save himself from perjury. He will perhaps have preserved an administration strategy of concealing the scope of Program X from the public and most of Congress -- making it appear that the program that Bush disclosed in December 2005, incorporating Comey's objections, is the same program that existed since October 2001, long before Comey put the brakes on at least some aspects of it. That may be at the heart of the White House's claim of executive privilege to prevent the Senate Judiciary Committee from seeing documents detailing the genesis of Program X.
We may be about to learn whether a perjury investigation will pierce the obfuscations and begin to explore the extent of Program X -- a program the American public was never supposed to know about.