Ashcroft queried by House panel

June 22, 2007 at 9:02 AM

WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. House Intelligence Committee chairman said he won't reveal specifics about the panel's closed-door hearing with former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, would only say that the two-hour session Thursday covered Ashcroft's tenure as the nation's chief law enforcement officer for the Bush administration, The Washington Post reported Friday.

According to Reyes, Ashcroft provided the panel with "very candid advice" about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires special court approval for domestic eavesdropping.

However, another member of the panel, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said Ashcroft failed to provide detailed answers concerning disputes with the administration over aspects of the domestic surveillance program.

"He gave long, rambling, nonspecific answers," Holt told the Post.

Last week the panel heard from a former deputy attorney general concerning a 2004 episode when White House officials went to Ashcroft's hospital bedside reportedly seeking to change his mind concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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