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Patrick L.
Democrat VT

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  • Cia Detention and Interrogation Report

    by Senator Patrick J. Leahy

    Posted on 2014-03-11

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    LEAHY. Mr. President, while the distinguished Senator from California is on the floor, I will tell her through the Chair that I have had the privilege of serving in this body for 40 years. I have heard thousands of speeches on this floor. I cannot think of any speech by any Member of either party as important as the one the Senator from California just gave.

    What she is saying is that if we are going to protect the separation of powers and the concept of congressional oversight, then she has taken the right steps to do that.

    The very first vote I cast in this body was for the Church Committee, which examined the excesses of the CIA and other agencies--everything from assassinations to spying on those who were protesting the war in Vietnam. There was a famous George Tames picture, where then-chairman of the Armed Services Committee John Stennis was berating Senator Frank Church for proposing this committee. He said that he, Senator Stennis, could find out what he wanted to find out but didn't really want to know everything.

    I was standing behind George Tames when he took that picture in my first caucus. There is pressure on the junior Members--and I was the most junior Member of the Senate at that time--not to vote for the Church Committee.

    Senator Mike Mansfield said to me--as did Senator Fritz Mondale and others--that the Senate is bigger than any one Senator. We come and go, but the Senate lasts. If we do not stand up for the protection of the separation of powers and our ability to do oversight--especially when conduct has happened that is, in all likelihood, criminal conduct on the part of a government agency--then what do we stand for? We are supposed to be the conscience of the Nation.

    The Senator from California, Mrs. Feinstein, has spoken to our conscience--to every one of the 100 Senators, men and women, of both parties. She has spoken to our conscience. Now let's stand up for this country. Let's stand up as the Senate should and as the Senator from California has.

    I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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