Competition is stiff, of course, but Jeff Sessions (R-Alab.) has been putting up a good fight to take home the prize in the "Most Shameless Fellating of Friendly Witnesses in Hearings" category. Every time Alberto Gonzales appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as he is now, Sessions plasters a smarmy, indulgent grin on his face and tosses out as many variants as he can cook up of: "Aren't people silly to suggest you want to spy on innocent Americans?"
His most recent round involved a tangent in which he shook his head at the poor confused souls who imagine that the PATRIOT Act authorized warrantless searches of any kind. Which would be a terribly confused thing to say… except that it happens to be true: National Security Letters, whose scope was expanded by PATRIOT, are administrative subpoenas for records not subject to judicial oversight. And the number of NSLs issued has risen dramatically in recent years.