Patrick Leahy Is Confused

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, Patrick Leahy appears to be confused.

Early in the week, Leahy was one of 11 Senators who signed Ron Wyden’s letter demanding the¬†Office of Legal Counsel targeted killing memos

After it was announced that President Obama would release the memos — but just to the Senate Intelligence Committee — he celebrated the move.

At that point, Leahy’s presumably largely liberal 10,000 followers would have believed that the President had finally fulfilled minimum standards of oversight.

Meanwhile, his colleague on the Senate Judiciary Committee complained about the move.

Grassley’s 65,000 followers would have correctly learned (assuming they’re fluent in Grasslese) that Obama had not yet given the memos to the committee that oversees the people who wrote the memos.

It turns out, the same day they sent these tweets, Leahy and Grassley sent a letter to the President “respectfully requesting” any and all memos.

We were informed last evening that you had directed the Department to provide copies of relevant OLC opinions to members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, but not this Committee.

[snip]

Our Committee plays an important role in providing congressional oversight over important national security and intelligence activities conducted by the Executive Branch, and our Members and our staff have frequently been provided access to highly classified documents. Given the important constitutional issues implicated by the targeted killing of U.S. citizens by our Government, and given our Committee’s jurisdiction over these issues and the Department, we respectfully request that you direct the Department to promptly provide our Committee with access to unredacted copies of any and all legal opinions drafted by OLC that pertain to the targeted killing of U.S. citizens abroad.

This is not exactly the way to conduct oversight, in my opinion, to contribute to the Administration’s limited hangout, leading people to believe the President isn’t, still, stonewalling.

Let’s be clear. According to both Ron Wyden and Dianne Feinstein, the Administration hasn’t even provided all the memos to the Intelligence Committees (it provided 2, but there are 8 more).

It seems the Administration plans to drib and drabble this demand, perhaps long enough to get past the date, tentatively scheduled for Valentines Day, when people will start voting for John Brennan’s nomination to be be CIA Director. That is, it seems the Administration plans to outlast these demands for accountability.

And Pat Leahy, insofar as he is muddling the issue of all memos to all the oversight committees (and the very least), is helping.

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