Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has been leading the charge to end the National Security Agency’s ability to collect and store communications metadata.
From the Vermont Digger:
At Senate Hearings on Wednesday, Leahy, who recently introduced legislation to rein in these programs, honed in on the NSA’s phone record collection program, which was authorized by the Patriot Act and collects all domestic phone logs.
Vermont’s senior senator set a high bar at the beginning for the panel of four intelligence officials. Based on the evidence the Obama administration has offered, Leahy said, he’s skeptical that the NSA’s bulk phone record collection program needs to exist.
“If this program is not effective it has to end. So far, I am not convinced by what I’ve seen,” Leahy said.
Leahy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, pressed the officials for two things — a straight answer on how many times the phone records program has been critical to disrupting terrorist plots, and proof that the NSA is serious about holding its own ranks accountable for the Edward Snowden security breach. Snowden, who has been charged by the U.S. with leaking information about NSA surveillance, was granted one year’s asylum in Russia on Thursday.
Leahy made it clear from the hearing’s outset that he’d have little patience for prevarication. “The executive branch has to be a full partner. We need straightforward answers, and I’m concerned we’re not getting them.”
He thanked the intelligence officials for their candor afterward, but during the questioning, Leahy badgered them into giving blunter responses to his questions.
I wonder if some of the senior intelligence officials being grilled by Leahy were gritting their teeth in anger or frustration? I wonder if any of them wanted to unload a truckload of scorn at the Vermont Democrat? It might be a testament to their discipline and professionalism that they didn’t.
Being grilled by “Leaky” Leahy must be a hard pill to swallow for any patriotic intelligence professional.
“Leaky” Leahy earned his nickname in 1988 – his 15th year of service in the Senate.
From Jim Kouri at RenewAmerica:
As the Senate was preparing to hold hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal, Leahy had to resign his Intelligence Committee post after he was caught leaking secret information to a reporter. The Vermont Democrat’s Iran-Contra leak was considered to be one of the most serious breaches of secrecy in the committee’s 28-year history. After Leahy’s resignation, the Senate Intelligence Committee decided to restrict access to committee documents to a security-enhanced meeting room.
That incident was not the first time Leahy’s suitability for overviewing intelligence operations came into question.
Senator Pat Leahy was annoyed with the Reagan administration’s war on terrorism in the 1980s. At the time he was vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Therefore, “Leaky Leahy,” threatened to sabotage classified strategies he didn’t like.
Leahy “inadvertently” disclosed a top-secret communications intercept during a 1985 television interview. The intercept had made possible the capture of the Arab terrorists who had hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered American citizen. But Leahy’s leak cost the life of at least one Egyptian “asset” involved in the operation.
In July 1987, it was reported that Leahy leaked secret information about a 1986 covert operation planned by the Reagan administration to topple Libya’s Moammar Gaddhafi. US intelligence officials stated that Leahy sent a written threat to expose the operation directly to then-CIA Director William Casey. Weeks later, news of the secret plan turned up in the Washington Post, causing it to be aborted.
During the 1980s, Senator Leahy was a militant opponent of President Reagan’s attempts to roll back communism in Latin America.
For example, on September 1st, 1986, four veterans began a water-only “fast for life” on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C. They wanted to draw attention to, and to protest, President Reagan’s “illegal and extraordinarily vicious wars against the poor of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.”
This leftist publicity stunt drew the support of several anti-Reagan Democrats, including then Congressman Leon Panetta and Senator Patrick Leahy.
Leahy’s apparent anti-military/intelligence bent can perhaps be partially explained by his affiliation to the far left Council for a Livable World.
The Council, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and reported Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to “reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security,” primarily through supporting “progressive,” congressional candidates who support their policies. It is one of the most effective and little understood anti-defense organizations in the country. The Council has funded Patrick Leahy in the past.
Long time Council for a Livable World head Jerome Grossman, claims that by funding Senators at the beginning of their careers, the organization was able to influence them later on.
Now Council for a Livable World is playing the money game …That’s what we do. We try to find obscure people who would make good Senators or Representatives and early on try to give them the initial funding. Now we can’t compete with the big money. We only raise a million and a half each election cycle. But that’s a million and a half that has no cost to them.
Because we get in early, and because it’s tied to issues, seems to have some kind of an effect. Then if we elect somebody they’re eternally grateful. Then we go and we are able to get a hearing.
Grossman gives an example of how he has used his influence, some years back, in an attempt to sabotage America’s national security interests:
George Mitchell who’s going to be Secretary of State––when he ran for Senator in Maine the first time, he was against a very popular member of the House of Representatives in Maine, a Republican by the name of Robert Emory… And Mitchell had run for Governor and run for Representative before. He had lost both times. He was considered a terrible politician. He had been a Federal Judge briefly. And he was considered a basket case.
He was thirty-six points behind. We raised fifty, sixty thousand dollars for him. He never stops telling that story. Now it so happens he’s a good guy anyway. But in time he was majority leader of the United States Senate. And we could walk in any time and tell him what we wanted. We even got him to oppose the President on the B2 bomber and so forth.
Has Patrick Leahy also succumbed to Council for a Livable World influence?
Senator Leahy has also received funding from another source, which should raise alarm bells – billionaire leftist George Soros. Leahy is one of a select few Senators, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry who have been funded directly by Soros himself, rather than by one one of his organizations. Coincidentally, all three were also funded by Council for a Livable world.
In recent years, Leahy has been trying to “normalize” US/Cuba relations – long a major platform of the communist Castro brothers agenda.
In 2012, a group of legislators led by Leahy, went to Cuba to meet with President Raul Castro.
Leahy led another delegation to Havana in February 2013 – all Democrats, with the exception of Cuba loving Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake.
The Cuban communist dictator and the US legislators “discussed matters of interest to both countries,” stated the Cuban TV news without going into any details.
The trip was viewed in the Cuban press as laying the groundwork that could lead to reestablishing diplomatic relations and bilateral trade.
“Every one of us has an interest in Cuba,” Leahy told the foreign press upon his arrival to Havana on Monday. “We all want to see relations improve and both sides take steps in that direction.”
Far left Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern – a very close associate of Council for a Livable World, was a member of the 2013 delegation headed by Senator Leahy.
McGovern participated in a two hour meeting with Raul Castro. He claims that he and the other speakers pushed for an overall change in US-Cuba policy, of which removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism would be a useful first step.
Leaks, security breaches, connections to subversive organizations such as the Council for Livable World, funding from George Soros and actively undermining US policies towards the enemy communist state of Cuba.
Yep… “Leaky” Leahy is just the kind of guy you want questioning America’s security agencies.
Trevor Loudon is the author of The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the US Congress