A prominent privacy rights organization says senators must delay confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until after they review newly identified documents on his role establishing Bush-era surveillance programs — a request endorsed Thursday by two Democratic senators.
From Washington Examiner:
The Electronic Privacy Information Center sought the last-minute delay in a Wednesday night letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., after being told of the existence of unreleased documents held by the National Archives.
McConnell invoked cloture at about the same time, setting in motion a possible Kavanaugh confirmation vote this weekend, after the FBI reviewed sexual assault claims against the judge.
EPIC president Marc Rotenberg said the National Archives indicated around 5 p.m. Wednesday that it possesses records that could confirm if Kavanaugh misled senators about his role in post-9/11 surveillance programs. EPIC is suing the Archives under the Freedom of Information Act.
“The only pieces that are missing are the underlying records, which we expect to be released very soon,” Rotenberg told the Washington Examiner, describing the new information as “extraordinary” in what it suggests.
An attorney for the Archives indicated there were 11 emails between Kavanaugh and Bush administration lawyer John Yoo between September 2001 and February 2002. The Archives also indicated 227 hits for Kavanaugh emails containing “Patriot Act” or “PATRIOT Act” or “surveillance,” and others about an airport passenger screening program.
Kavanaugh’s stance on privacy matters alarmed mass surveillance opponents since his name appeared on a short list of potential Supreme Court nominees, largely because of a 2015 opinion he wrote upholding the National Security Agency’s dragnet collection of domestic call records. His role in fore-runners to that program as a Bush White House attorney, before he joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is less well understood.