Feingold: We’re Not the Prosecutors’ Committee, We’re the Judiciary Committee

If you missed the thoroughly depressing PATRIOT Act hearing today, this was one of two highlights. Listen carefully at 17 seconds where someone who sounds like Pat Leahy sighs, “Oh boy.”

The rest of the hearing featured Democrat after Democrat arguing that we need to develop lists of all the potential suspects out there buying acetone and hydrogen peroxide.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

12 replies
  1. freepatriot says:

    if the federal government does as well at tracking explosives’ ingriedients as it is doing tracking meth ingredients, I expect the nation to be awash in explosives in 5, 4, 3 …

    jes sayin, is all

  2. WTFOver says:

    Way OT But Interesting

    Was Rochester Hills, Michigan woman convicted of selling telecommunications equipment to Saddam Hussein a victim of CIA plot?


    A jury in March convicted Dawn Hanna for selling telecommunications equipment to Iraq under Saddam Hussein in 2003-03, a violation of a federal trade embargo.

    But Emad al-Yawer, who worked as a middleman between the buyers and Hanna’s Rochester-based company, says he initiated contact with Hanna under the instruction of the CIA.

    [edited for fair use]


      • bobschacht says:

        Spector?? Voting with Feingold on everything???
        Has he had some sort of Road to Damascus experience?
        Or is he just reacting to his upcoming primary battle with Joe Sestak?

        Bob in AZ

  3. Jim White says:

    Yep, I agree on Leahy. Sounds pretty upset about being called out for something that is painfully obvious, doesn’t he? Truth is becoming more and more out of bounds in our government…

  4. Becca says:

    And in mere moments, American society is changed as during the next six months we discover that 75% of the blondes out there actually aren’t, there’s way more gray hair out there than anyone suspected, and nail polish becomes a thing of the past…

    Oh, and there’s also an uptick in infections, because people can’t wash out cuts with cheap hydrogen peroxide anymore.

    • bobschacht says:

      …there’s way more gray hair out there than anyone suspected…

      Does Grecian Formula have any bomb-making ingredients?
      It does have Lead, however, so I had to get my wife to “do” my hair with Clairol hair coloring instead (She has something against gray hair.) Does Clairol have any bomb-making ingredients that I need to be worried about?

      Bob in AZ

  5. Jim White says:

    So how does this thing work? Does the Star Chamber follow guidelines from the Prosecutor Committee or is it easier for the Committee to come along after the fact and rubber stamp anything they want?

    Conservapedia might want to move their Conservatution project ahead of the Conservabible. Getting those Star Chambers down in writing is pretty important.

    • emptywheel says:

      Already wrote the Bill of Rights for the Conservatution today: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10.

      Gives you space to add in an amendment about controlling the womb of the lesser sex and another for “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

  6. Jim White says:

    The good Senator Feingold is right pissed off:

    Before I get into the specific provisions that concern me, I want to say how disappointed I was in the debate in the committee. Today particularly, I started to feel as if too many members of the committee from both parties are willing to accept uncritically whatever the executive branch says about even the most reasonable proposed changes in the law. Of course we should consider the perspective of the FBI and the Justice Department. Keeping Americans safe is everyone’s priority. But we also need to consider a full range of perspectives and come to our own conclusions about how best to protect the American people and preserve their freedoms. Protecting the rights of innocent people should be a part of that equation. It’s not the Prosecutors’ Committee; it’s the Judiciary Committee. And whether the executive branch powers are overbroad is something we have to decide. The only people we should be deferring to are the American people, as we try to protect them from terrorism without infringing on their freedoms.

    I am also very troubled that administration officials have been taking positions behind closed doors that they are not taking publicly. I am pleased that we have not heard the type of public fear-mongering from this administration that was such a regular part of the discourse in the past. But if the administration wanted to further water down the already limited reforms in the bill that was on the table, they should have said so openly. Instead, at our only public hearing we were told that the Justice Department did not have positions on the crucial issues about to be discussed. Then, over the past week, in classified settings, the Department has weighed in against even some of the limited reforms that Sen. Leahy originally proposed. That led to the unusual spectacle today where many members of the committee based their decision to further weaken the bill on a classified briefing held yesterday, but could not fully discuss or debate their reasons. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am privy to every bit of the classified information that was referred to today. And nothing presented in the classified briefings justifies the failure to address the real problems with the expiring Patriot Act provisions and other intrusive powers.

    h/t Glenzilla’s latest update.

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