On Capitol Hill, attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch will return today for day two of her confirmation hearing. If confirmed, Lynch will become the first African-American woman to serve as attorney general. During Wednesday’s hearing, Lynch described the National Security Agency’s spying programs as “constitutional and effective” and defended the government’s surveillance operations.
Loretta Lynch: “Recent events, however, have underscored the importance of this as an issue in the war on terror. And so I would hope that we could move forward with any proposed changes to FISA with a full and complete understanding of the risks that are — that we are still facing. And if any changes need to be made, again, after full and fair consideration with this committee, with the Intelligence Committee, and the discussions that we need to have, making sure that we can still provide law enforcement with the tools that they need.”
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont questioned her about torture.
Sen. Patrick Leahy: “Do you agree that waterboarding is torture and that it’s illegal?”
Loretta Lynch: “Waterboarding is torture, Senator.”
Leahy: “And thus illegal?”
Lynch: “And thus illegal.”