CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week. Revised bill highlights Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. (CNET obtained the revised draft from a source involved in the negotiations with Leahy.)To refresh the memories of those who've forgotten, this is the Cheney reference.
Now, shouldn't this have been the lead story on every network today? In previous days? Especially in light of the past outrage from folks like Leahy about the Bush abuses of the Patriot Act? Yet finding it on CNN required a search; checking NBC, CBS, and ABC as of this post, and using the search "Patrick Leahy emails", here's what came up:
ABC-- Danica Patrick is getting a divorce.
NBC-- Danica Patrick is getting a divorce.
CBS-- John Yoo torture emails remain missing.
But never fear! Before the story could get any legs on the major American news outlets CNET was already reporting that Leahy is standing down on the bill. So it's almost like it never really happened.