I pointed out yesterday that Mike McConnell admitted that the Senate Judiciary Committee did not receive a briefing on the warrantless wiretapping program, in spite of the fact that the Committee has been working on the issue for well over a year.
We submitted the bill in April, had an open hearing 1 May, we had a closed hearing in May, I don't remember the exact date. Chairman (U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas) had two hearings and I had a chance to brief the judiciary committee in the house, the intelligence committee in the house and I just mentioned the Senate, did not brief the full judiciary committee in the Senate, but I did meet with Sen. (Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.) and Sen. (Arlen Specter, R-Pa.), and I did have an opportunity on the Senate side, they have a tradition there of every quarter they invite the director of national intelligence in to talk to them update them on topics of interest. And that happened in (June 27). [my emphasis]
McConnell did not give a private briefing to the Senate Judiciary Committee. And if his description is accurate, he didn't give one to the Senate Intelligence Committee, either. The former, of course, has been reviewing these issues for a year and a half and has subpoenaed documents from the Administration on precisely this program, only to be denied. The notion that McConnell didn't brief them (was he afraid they'd demand subpoenas?)--and that Leahy didn't demand that he brief them--is a ridiculous affront to the legislative process. And to think Cheney would tell such a good ally as Leahy to go fuck himself.
But what I didn't remember is when McConnell gave his briefing to Specter (and presumably Leahy):
Specter, who was given his first briefing on the NSA program and its history Monday afternoon in an 80-minute meeting with Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, declined to comment afterward.
On Monday, July 30, the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee received his first briefing on a program that he had been conducting oversight on for over a year--leading up to legislation that McConnell complained should have been passed back in May.