Excerpt: "No Place to Hide"

Eventually, Flanigan made some concessions. He agreed that the government would not use evidence about U.S. citizens obtained abroad in a manner illegal under U.S. law, and that a court would review information before it could be shared among intelligence and law enforcement agencies within the United States. On October 1, Leahy thought he had a final agreement in hand. He was so confident that he stopped by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office to assure him: "We have it all worked out." Leahy left the Capitol that evening feeling satisfied. He'd done what he could to protect civil liberties by providing oversight for surveillance and domestic intelligence. But he had also moved quickly to bolster law enforcement and counterintelligence operations. No one could accuse the Democrats of coddling terrorists. The next morning, Leahy sat in his office across a polished wood conference table from Ashcroft, Hatch, Michael Chertoff, chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, and Gonzales, the White House counsel. They'd come together to sign off on the deal. But Ashcroft was having second thoughts about some of Flanigan's concessions. The agreement, he told Leahy, no longer held.

Leahy felt blindsided. He'd invested his prestige in these negotiations, and now it looked like he didn't count. "I said, 'John, when I make an agreement, I make an agreement. I can't believe you're going back on your commitment.'"

Ashcroft's support was critical to the bill's approval. The Senate and the Bush administration had agreed to deliver a proposal together, and the process could not go forward without Ashcroft's imprimatur. Flanigan downplays the dispute, saying it was only one of many disagreements in a tough series of talks that ebbed and flowed. "There were several points in the negotihe next morning, Leahy sat in his office across a polished wood conference table from Ashcroft, Hatch, Michael Chertoff, chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, and Gonzales, the White House counsel. They'd come together to sign off on the deal. But Ashcroft was having second thoughts about some of Flanigan's concessions. The agreement, he told Leahy, no longer held.

Leahy felt blindsided. He'd invested his prestige in these negotiations, and now it looked like he didn't count. "I said, 'John, when I make an agreement, I make an agreement. I can't believe you're going back on your commitment.'"

Ashcroft's support was critical to the bill's approval. The Senate and the Bush administration had agreed to deliver a proposal together, and the process could not go forward without Ashcroft's imprimatur. Flanigan downplays the dispute, saying it was only one of many disagreements in a tough series of talks that ebbed and flowed. "There were several points in the negotiations at which they recognized that they had given up too much, and there were other times that we realized we hadn't asked for enough," Flanigan says. "It's understandable. It's the pace of the negotiations.

"You know, there'd be groans around the table and nobody was pleased to see an issue reopened. But I think it all was conducted in a spirit [of] we're all trying to get to a result here."

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