Senator Patrick J. Leahy
- Homepage: http://leahy.senate.gov/
November 2005: "Patrick Leahy of Middlesex was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and remains the only Democrat elected to this office from Vermont. At 34, he was the youngest U.S. Senator ever to be elected from the Green Mountain State. Leahy was born in Montpelier and grew up across from the Statehouse. A graduate of Saint Michael's College in Colchester (1961), he received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1964). He served for eight years as State's Attorney in Chittenden County. He gained a national reputation for his law enforcement activities and was selected (1974) as one of three outstanding prosecutors in the United States. Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and is a senior member of the Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. He ranks seventh in seniority in the Senate.
As a leading member of the Appropriations Committee, Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Committee’s Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and also sits on its Defense, Interior, Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation-Treasury-Judiciary-Housing and Urban Development, and Homeland Security subcommittees.
Active on human rights issues, Leahy also has been the leading U.S. officeholder in the international campaign against the production, export and use of anti-personnel landmines. In 1992 Leahy wrote the first law by any government to ban the export of these weapons. He led efforts in Congress to aid mine victims by creating a special fund in the foreign aid budget, and the Leahy War Victims Fund now provides up to $14 million of relief to these victims each year. He was instrumental in establishing programs to support humanitarian demining and played a key role in pushing for an international treaty banning anti-personnel mines. He also wrote and enacted civilian war victims relief programs that are underway in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Leahy headed the Senate’s negotiations on the 2001 anti-terrorism bill, the USA PATRIOT Act. He added checks and balances to the bill to protect civil liberties, as well as provisions which he authored to triple staffing along the U.S.-Canada border, to authorize domestic preparedness grants to states, and to facilitate the hiring of new FBI translators."http://leahy.senate.gov/biography/sketch05index.html
November 2012: 'That's not all. All your emails that are more than six months old are legally treated as online "storage" and accessible with a court order or a subpoena to the online service provider. The providers can say no, but usually they don't. By contrast, listening in on someone's phone calls requires a warrant based on probable cause, along with a showing that the FBI has done everything else in their power to acquire the information they're seeking. Now that many people communicate more frequently via email and instant messages than via phone conversations, the difference in standards doesn't make much sense. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has proposed a bill that would subject requests for online communications to the same high standards required for tapping phones, but Congress doesn't seem all that interested in passing it yet.'http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/cia-petraeus-fbi-broadwell-emails-privacy
October 2011: 'In May, the ECPA's author, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), said the original law is "significantly outdated and outpaced by rapid changes in technology." He introduced a bill adopting many of the recommendations of the technology coalition lobbying for changes to the law.'http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203476804576613284007315072.html
September 2011: '“Improved patent quality will benefit businesses across the economic spectrum,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who was a primary sponsor of the bill. “For years, low-quality patents have been a drain on our patent system, and in turn our economy, by undermining the value of what it means to hold a patent. Higher-quality patents will infuse greater certainty into the patent system, which will better incentivize investment in American businesses, create jobs and grow our economy.”'http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/business/senate-approves-overhaul-of-patent-system.html
May 2010: "Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee that finances foreign aid programs, said that how Haiti ultimately handled the case in Les Cayes would show if it was serious about justice."http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/world/americas/23haiti.html
February 2010: '"Why were these critical records deleted? Why were they kept from investigators?" Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said at a hearing Friday.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/26/AR2010022603765.html
December 2008: 'Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) has said his panel carefully vets all nominees. He has boasted that the committee has treated Bush's nominees "more fairly than Republicans treated President Clinton's" and has successfully halved the number of federal judicial vacancies at the beginning of Bush's term by acting speedily on nominations.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/07/AR2008120702876.html
July 2008: "The committee's chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, has asked the inspector general's office to assess the administration's claims of executive privilege as it tries to keep documents related to EPA decisions from Congress."http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/28/epa.gag.order/index.html
June 2008: '“The 2006 McNulty Memorandum, which was heralded as a much-needed fix to the 2003 Thompson Memorandum, is inadequate,” 32 former federal prosecutors wrote Friday in a seven-page letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, where the bill is under review.'http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/23/business/23law.html
May 2008: "At every turn, though, they encountered hostile Democratic interrogators. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, demanded that the executives tell him the amount of their pay packages and then ridiculed those who said they did not know exactly how much they earned."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/22/business/22oil.html
April 2008: "The Justice Department sent a legal memorandum to the Pentagon in 2003 asserting that federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives because the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief overrode such statutes....The declassified memo was sent by the Defense and Justice departments late yesterday to Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), who had seen the document in classified form and pushed for its release."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/01/AR2008040102213.html
March 2008: 'At yesterday's hearing, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) condemned the FBI's "widespread illegal and improper use of national security letters," and urged Mueller to be more attentive to the problem.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/05/AR2008030500463.html
January 2008: 'Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) was among the members who complained. "It is not enough to say that waterboarding is not currently authorized," Leahy said. "Tragically, this administration has so twisted America's role, law and values that our own State Department, our military officers, apparently even our top law enforcement officer, are now instructed by the White House not to say that waterboarding is torture and illegal."'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/30/AR2008013001654.html
December 2007: "Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who heads the Senate appropriations subcommittee on foreign aid, said that Congress could be counted on to come up with the rest of the money if the countries fulfilled their end of the bargain. But, he asked, where else should Congress look for savings in its foreign aid budget?"http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/07/world/africa/07millennium.html
October 2007: Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary panel's chairman, reacted with blunt dissatisfaction, saying in a statement yesterday that he will continue to delay any vote on Mukasey until the nominee answers more questions from lawmakers. 'I remain very concerned that Judge Mukasey finds himself unable to state unequivocally that waterboarding is illegal and below the standards and values of the United States,' he said.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/30/AR2007103001481.html
October 2007: “Do you feel, as chief, you should do the courtesy,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, asked, “and kick in the fifth one?”http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/08/us/08bar.html
October 2007: Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the 2005 opinions had “reinstated a secret regime by, in essence, reinterpreting the law in secret.” Mr. Leahy said his panel had sought information on the opinions on interrogation for two years without success.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/washington/05interrogate.html
July 2007: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) added: 'It is deeply disturbing that this administration seems to spend so much of its energy and resources trying to find ways to ignore any check and balance on its authority and avoid accountability to Congress and the American public.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/14/AR2007071400862.html
May 2007: 'Internet drug trafficking has presented another challenge for law enforcement,' said Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). 'If drug dealers came into our neighborhoods selling these kinds of drugs, Americans would be up in arms.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/16/AR2007051602015.html
April 2007: 'You can't erase e-mails, not today,' said Leahy, D-Vermont. 'They've gone through too many servers. They can't say they've been lost. That's like saying, 'The dog ate my homework.' ' (Watch Leahy compare e-mails to Nixon tapesVideo)http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/13/white.house.email/index.html
March 2007: Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont introduced antiprofiteering legislation in January, soon after ascending to the post.http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0319/p01s02-usmi.html
January 2007: The United States has never acknowledged it made a mistake in the Arar case, which has become one of the most public embarrassments in the U.S. practice of 'extraordinary rendition' of suspects to other countries for interrogation and imprisonment. Last week, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) demanded an explanation for the administration's stance. He complained that American officials 'knew damn well, if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. It's beneath the dignity of this country to send somebody to another country to be tortured.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/26/AR2007012601717.html
September 2006: 'The White House insists it is winning the war against drugs. Those boasts fly in the face of the facts, but the White House would rather stick to a flawed plan than to admit that their approach isn't working and to fix it,' says committee member Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont. 'Congressional oversight ... has been sorely lacking,' he says. 'It is past time for an honest reassessment of Plan Colombia.'http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0929/p01s03-woam.html
September 2006: There is legislative movement afoot as well. This spring, two senators, Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, introduced a patent reform bill. Among its many provisions is one to limit damages in patent lawsuits and another to require a more substantial connection between a business and the court where it brings a patent lawsuit.http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/business/24ward.html
February 2006: After the vote, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a co-author of the [Asbestos trust fund--Ed.] bill...http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/14/AR2006021400798.html
November 2005: 'This is an abuse of discretion and an affront to the Congress,' said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the author of legislation tying military aid to human rights conditions. 'To waive on national security grounds a law that seeks justice for crimes against humanity -- without even obtaining the Indonesian government's assurance that it will address these concerns -- makes a mockery of the process and sends a terrible message. The Indonesians will see it as a clean bill of health.'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/22/AR2005112201751.html
Role Name Type Last Updated Member of (past or present) Democratic Party / Democratic National Committee (DNC) Organization Nov 23, 2005 Student/Trainee (past or present) Georgetown University Organization Nov 23, 2005 Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Justice Department/Department of Justice (DOJ) Organization Nov 23, 2005 Student/Trainee (past or present) Saint Michael's College Organization Nov 23, 2005 Member of (past or present) Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) US Senate Organization Supervisor of (past or present) Shaun Dakin Person Jan 22, 2008 Supervisor of (past or present) J.H. Snider Person Apr 4, 2010
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Nov 15, 2012 The Real Reason You Should Care About the Petraeus Affair: Privacy
QUOTE: Once you've opened an email or your Facebook account, you've provided your personal information to a third party. The government can then ask that third party—Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Friendster, or whatever—for your information, and they don't necessarily need a warrant. The Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. It doesn't stop third parties from sharing personal information you willingly give them.
Mother Jones Oct 10, 2011 Secret Orders Target Email: WikiLeaks Backer's Information Sought
QUOTE: The court clashes in the WikiLeaks case provide a rare public window into the growing debate over a federal law that lets the government secretly obtain information from people's email and cellphones without a search warrant. Several court decisions have questioned whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Sep 08, 2011 Fighting Backlog in Patents, Senate Approves Overhaul
QUOTE: The Senate approved a sweeping reform of the nation’s patent laws on Thursday, sending to President Obama a bill that changes the system for determining priority for inventions at the patent office and provides more financing for an agency beset by application backlogs and outdated computer systems. After rejecting proposed amendments to a bill approved by the House last June, the Senate voted 89 to 9 to pass the bill, completing an effort of at least six years to overhaul the patent office’s operations and the procedures by which patents can be challenged.
New York Times May 22, 2010 Escape Attempt Led to Killings of Unarmed Inmates
QUOTE: Haitian officials here say they did not use lethal force but rather found lifeless bodies when they entered the prison....But an investigation by The New York Times casts doubt on the official version of events...
New York Times Feb 27, 2010 Inquiry sought into disappearance of e-mails in interrogations case
QUOTE: Senior Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups demanded Friday that the Justice Department investigate the disappearance of e-mail messages written by Bush administration lawyers who drafted memos blessing harsh interrogation tactics, saying their absence cast doubt on an ethics report that cleared the lawyers of professional misconduct.
Washington Post Oct 11, 2009 Justice Dept. to Review Bush Policy on DNA Test Waivers
QUOTE: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has ordered a review of a little-known Bush administration policy requiring some defendants to waive their right to DNA testing even though that right is guaranteed in a landmark federal law, officials said.
Washington Post Aug 18, 2009 Mexico Drug Fight Fuels Complaints
QUOTE: Mexico’s fight against drug traffickers generated a sixfold increase in human rights complaints against the Mexican military between 2006 and 2008, and it is unclear that any of those complaints resulted in prosecutions, according to a State Department report on the effort.
New York Times Jul 10, 2009 Bush’s Secret NSA Spying May Have Tainted Prosecutions, Report Warns (Threat Level Privacy, Crime and Security Online)
QUOTE: The Justice Department needs to investigate whether the secretiveness of Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program tainted terrorism prosecutions by hiding exculpatory evidence from defendants, an oversight report from five inspectors general warned Friday.
Wired Jul 03, 2009 Purity of Federal 'Organic' Label Is Questioned
QUOTE: the USDA [organic food] program's shortcomings mean that consumers, who at times must pay twice as much for organic products, are not always getting what they expect: foods without pesticides and other chemicals, produced in a way that is gentle to the environment.
Washington Post Dec 08, 2008 The Politics of the Federal Bench: GOP-Appointed Majorities Winning Ideological Battles at Appellate Level
QUOTE: Although the impact of Bush's judicial appointments is most often noticed at the Supreme Court, it has played out much more frequently and more importantly here and in the nation's 12 other appellate courts, where his appointees and their liberal counterparts are waging often-bitter ideological battles.
Washington Post Jul 28, 2008 EPA e-mail to workers: Don't answer inspector's questions
QUOTE: The Environmental Protection Agency advised employees last month not to answer questions from journalists, the Government Accountability Office or the agency's inspector general, according to an EPA e-mail made public Monday..."The order reinforces a growing bunker mentality within an EPA that is the subject of a growing number of probes into political interference with agency operations,"
CNN (Cable News Network) Jul 09, 2008 Senate Passes Surveillance Bill With Immunity for Telecom Firms
QUOTE: The Senate today approved a sweeping overhaul of rules governing secret government surveillance in terrorism and espionage cases, voting to effectively grant immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program.
Washington Post Jun 23, 2008 Bill to Protect Companies in Inquiries Adds Support
QUOTE: Confidentiality is a common-law bedrock of the American legal system. With rare exceptions, it ensures that no one other than lawyers and their clients can see legal communications or documents. Erosion of the legal confidentiality principle has been one of the hottest topics in the American bar for several years. The bill would toughen prosecutorial guidelines issued by the Justice Department in late 2006. A version of the bill passed the House last fall and is now in the Senate.
New York Times May 22, 2008 Senators Sharply Question Oil Officials
QUOTE: But while momentum is building for several measures, including a bill that would allow the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to be sued in American courts under antitrust laws, there is little sign that any of the proposals would do much, if anything, to lower prices quickly.
New York Times Apr 02, 2008 Memo: Laws Didn't Apply to Interrogators: Justice Dept. Official in 2003 Said President's Wartime Authority Trumped Many Statutes
QUOTE: "If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network," [John C.] Yoo wrote. "In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions."
Washington Post Mar 05, 2008 FBI Chief Confirms Misuse of Subpoenas: Security Letters Used to Get Personal Data
QUOTE: Inspector General Glenn A. Fine reported a year ago that the FBI used such letters ...to improperly obtain telephone logs, banking records and other personal records of thousands of Americans from 2003 to 2005. An internal FBI audit also found that the bureau potentially violated laws or agency rules more than 1,000 times in such cases.
Washington Post Jan 30, 2008 Mukasey Hints at Wider CIA Probe
QUOTE: [New] testimony [from Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey ] indicated that the CIA tapes probe, which Mukasey launched earlier this month, could go beyond the tape destruction itself to examine the actions of the current and former CIA employees who carried out coercive interrogations.
Washington Post Jan 22, 2008 ID Rules To Change For Canada Crossings: DHS Defies Congress By Going Forward Now
QUOTE: Defying Congress, the Department of Homeland Security is pushing to tighten identification requirements at U.S. land borders starting Jan. 31, when it no longer will allow Americans or Canadians to enter the country by presenting a driver's license or declaring their citizenship.
Washington Post Jan 13, 2008 In the Farm Bill, a Creature From the Black Lagoon?
QUOTE: But you may be surprised to learn that your tax dollars have helped pave the way for the growth of these livestock megafarms by paying farmers to deal with the mountains of excrement that their farms generate. All of this is carried out under the rubric of “conservation.”
New York Times Dec 07, 2007 U.S. Agency’s Slow Pace Endangers Foreign Aid
QUOTE: The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a federal agency set up almost four years ago to reinvent foreign aid, has taken far longer to help poor, well-governed countries than its supporters expected or its critics say is reasonable.
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