"DoJ official finds it ‘surreal’ to have to respond to Franken’s concerns about Patriot Act."
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. Committee member Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) used his question-and-answer period to investigate the provision that authorizes “roving wiretaps,” expressing concern that the law does not require federal authorities to identify the target with specificity before proceeding with surveillance. Franken then read the Fourth Amendment to one of the panelists, Assistant Attorney General David Kris, emphasizing that, “no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” “That’s pretty explicit language,” noted Franken, asking Kris how the “roving wiretap” provision meets that constitutional requirement. The Washington Independent’s Daphne Eviatar reports what happened next:
Kris looked flustered and mumbled that “this is surreal,” apparently referring to having to respond to Franken’s question. “I would defer to the other branch of government,” he said, referring to the courts, prompting Franken to interject: “I know what that is.”