Leahy-Kennedy Cabal Handcuffs FBI, CIA. (the Last Word)

By De Toledano, Ralph | Insight on the News, August 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Leahy-Kennedy Cabal Handcuffs FBI, CIA. (the Last Word)


De Toledano, Ralph, Insight on the News


Hearken to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has put American justice on hold by refusing to confirm district-and appellate-court nominees to the federal bench unless they sit in the far-left cabbage patch. The remark comes courtesy of sensationalist Seymour Hersh, who claims to quote Leahy on the present brouhaha over the FBI.

American humorist Tom Anderson once observed of the New Yorker, for which Hersh writes, that he wouldn't even believe the page numbers in that magazine unless he counted them himself. But, a Hersh report or not, the quote sounds enough like Leahy to believe it is authentic. Here is what Hersh says the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has official oversight of the FBI, had to say:

"The FBI has improved since the days of J. Edgar Hoover. It doesn't go around blackmailing members of Congress anymore."

Think back. Much of what we now laughingly refer to as "the media" were in diapers when in 1975-76 the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho)--and including Leahy--castrated both the FBI and the CIA after hearings that led to passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). At the head of the lynch mob in this endeavor was Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who wanted no G-men fishing in Chappaquiddick's waters.

The major charge against Hoover was that he and the FBI showed excessive "zeal" in tracking down the nation's enemies, a pursuit to which he had been ordered by every president since Warren G. Harding. Hoover, it should be recalled, had taken over a corrupt and useless federal bureau and turned it into what everyone--with the exception of Leahy, Kennedy and company--agreed was the finest investigative agency in the world. Whereas the pre-Hoover bureau did a bit of blackmailing, though never of members of the Senate, under Hoover the bureau was squeaky clean. Except for charges that it had been unkind to Soviet operatives, there was no scandal whatsoever.

Following Hoover's death, Assistant Director Mark Felt, bureau director for literally a day, was doomed for his adherence to Hoover policies. He was replaced by a series of political "directors"--some good and some bad, but all totally intimidated by Leahy-Kennedy to do little more than turn up a Mafia racketeer from time to time. Under FISA, for example, the FBI in its surveillance of a suspect cannot get a court order for wiretaps or other investigative procedures by reporting that the individual belongs to a terrorist organization. It must show that there is "probable cause" that the suspect has committed or is planning to a terrorist act.

As the Wall Street Journal has noted, "Since such evidence can seldom be gathered without some form of government eavesdropping, FISA created a classic Catch22. …

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