Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who snuck the USA provision into the Patriot Act?

Arlen Specter:

The first I found out about the change in the PATRIOT Act occurred a few weeks ago when Senator Feinstein approached me on the floor and made a comment about two U.S. attorneys who were replaced under the authority of the change in law in the PATRIOT Act, which altered the way U.S. attorneys are replaced.

Prior to the PATRIOT Act, U.S. attorneys were replaced by the attorney general for 120 days, and then appointments by the court, orthe first assistant succeeded to the position of U.S. attorney. And thePATRIOT Act gave broader powers to the attorney general to appoint replacement U.S. attorneys.

I then contacted my very able chief counsel, Michael O'Neill, to find out exactly what had happened. And Mr. O'Neill advised me that the requested change had come from the Department of Justice, that it was handled by Brett Tolman, who is now the U.S. attorney for Utah....

Andrew Sullivan:

Are you sitting down? The Specter staffer who inserted the clause into the Patriot Act giving the president new power to by-pass the Senate in appointing U.S. Attorneys ... was rewarded by becoming a U.S Attorney! Karen Tumulty has more here and here.

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