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US Justice Department Opens Probe of Gonzales Congressional Testimony


The inspector general of the U.S. Justice Department says he is investigating whether outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave false and misleading information to Congress under sworn testimony.

Glenn Fine revealed he is looking into Gonzales's testimony in a letter Fine sent Thursday to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who requested the probe earlier this month.

Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is questioning whether Gonzales has told the truth during appearances before Congress on a number of issues, including last year's dismissals of eight federal prosecutors, and the administration's warrentless surveillance program.

Fine is also conducting a probe of those two issues, as well as federal agents' use of so-called "national security letters" to seek information in terrorist investigations without a court order.

Gonzales resigned earlier this week, ending a controversial two-and-a-half year run as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. His resignation takes effect in mid-September.

The White House says President Bush will likely wait until he returns from the annual Asia-Pacific region summit in Australia early next month before choosing a nominee to replace Gonzales.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.