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By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
Topic - Patrick J. Leahy
Sen. Leahy undermines the agents who protect Vermont
The Republican author of the Patriot Act in the House and the senior Democrat in the Senate teamed together Tuesday to write a bill that would stop the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records and require a court order if the government wants to search through Americans' communications.
Washington politicians' egos, penchant for nepotism and disregard for taxpayers' money knows no bounds. For weeks leading up to the country's second government shutdown in nearly 20 years, all America talked about, and continues to, is the nation's spending — and the nearly $17 trillion debt problem.
The Obama administration's credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government's warrantless bulk collection of all Americans' phone records.
The Senate's senior lawmaker said Tuesday that it is time to repeal provisions of the Patriot Act that the intelligence community has relied on to collect all Americans' phone records, saying they are not making the country safer.
I applaud President Obama's recognition that mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders needs to end.
The Senate's most senior lawmaker said Friday that the intelligence community is still not being truthful about its snooping activities and how they may be picking up communications from Americans, and vowed to hold hearings when Congress returns from its summer vacation.
Even as President Obama extolled the contributions of gay citizens Thursday, a clash over gay rights on Capitol Hill was threatening to unravel his cherished goal of immigration reform.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy introduced an amendment to the immigration bill Tuesday that would extend immigration benefits to gay partners of American citizens, potentially injecting that contentious issue into the middle of the immigration debate.
The Senate immigration bill cleared the Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote Tuesday night, ducking — for now — big fights on guns, gay rights and how broadly the legalization is drawn, and leaving the 867-page overhaul mostly unscathed by conservative attacks.
The immigration "reform" cooked up by the Gang of Eight is finally on the front burner in Congress. The Senate Judiciary Committee will mark up the comprehensive package Thursday, and already it appears the process is doomed to failure, and by design.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced amendments Tuesday to grant gay couples the same immigration rights as other married couples, setting up a key hurdle for the immigration bill.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a leading voice in the immigration reform debate, sent a strong word of caution Sen. Jeff Sessions' way: Don't "discredit the process" of scheduled Senate talks.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and Sen. Susan M. Collins, Maine Republican, announced new legislation on the Senate floor Monday that would make gun trafficking a federal crime and crack down on straw purchasing — one of the first bipartisan gun-related measures to be introduced after the Newtown, Conn., shootings in December.
Treading on touchy territory, the Senate on Tuesday defeated a plan to push states to test accused rapists for sexually transmitted diseases, so their victims could then know what treatments to get.
"Debo is careful, he listens, and he understands the importance of building consensus," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat. "Anyone who knows him understands that he is a man of the utmost integrity."
"I'm not out just to hang a lot of scalps on the wall. I want to know exactly what happened so that it won't happen again," Mr. Leahy told reporters Wednesday at the Capitol.