Testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning, Attorney General Eric Holder promised to produce the evidence, withheld by the Department of Justice, that some Democratic Senators believe is necessary for an informed debate on the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act.
As I reported yesterday, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) sent a letter asking the attorney general to produce information that’s been classified but which they feel is necessary to allowing Congress to decide whether certain provisions of the Patriot Act — specifically section 215, known as the “business records provision” — should be renewed in their current form. That provision now allows the government to obtain personal records of people who are not suspected of any connection to terrorism, so long as the FBI claims the records are “relevant” to some terrorism investigation.
Today, Holder said that “we are working on ways to make available to senators and congressmen the information needed to vote on the Patriot Act. … That information will be made available.”