Attorney General Alberto Gonzales must quickly clarify apparent contradictions in his testimony about warrantless spying or risk a possible perjury investigation, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday.
"If he doesn't correct it, then I think that there are so many errors in there that the pressure will lead very, very heavily to whether it's a special prosecutor, a special counsel, efforts within the Congress, " said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Last week, four Democrats on Leahy's committee asked solicitor general Paul Clement for the special investigation of Gonzales. The request came after FBI director Robert Mueller appeared to contradict Gonzales' statements to Congress about internal administration dissent over President Bush's secretive wiretapping program.
Gonzales told the Senate committee that the program was not at issue when then-White House counsel Gonzales made a dramatic visit to Attorney General John Ashcroft's hospital room in 2004. Mueller, before the House Judiciary Committee, said it was.
On Sunday, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on Leahy's committee, said it would be premature to begin a perjury investigation until the panel could find out the facts.
The New York Times, citing anonymous government officials it declined to name, reported Sunday that the 2004 dispute was over computer searches through huge electronic databases, which contain records of phone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans.
If the dispute chiefly involved data mining rather than eavesdropping, that raised the question as to whether Gonzales might be technically correct, according to the article.