circletimessquare writes: New details have emerged about the 2004 conflict between George W. Bush and his Attorney General, John Ashcroft, who was hospitalized when he forcefully disagreed with the president's authorization of the NSA's sweeping new collection powers after 9/11. The New York Times has discovered that the conflict was about a retroactive alteration of the President's wording on the legal theory by which the NSA is allowed to siphon up metadata on all Americans, not just certain targets or classes of targets, such as suspected terrorists. 'Mr. Bush, for the first time, explicitly said that his authorizations were "displacing" specific federal statutes, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and criminal wiretapping laws... the president had "made an interpretation of law concerning his authorities" and that the Justice Department could not act in contradiction of Mr. Bush's determinations.' The president faced a severe backlash from the Justice Department, including a threat of mass resignation.