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Andre Birotte on the Patriot Act, secret surveillance, Ron Calderon and marijuana laws

U.S. Attorney André Birotte, Jr.
U.S. Attorney André Birotte, Jr.

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At a time when the Justice Department is facing scrutiny for its surveillance of journalists, now the entire Obama Administration is under fire for revelations that the National Security Agency has been storing phone records of Americans and tapping into servers of major Internet companies.

Yesterday, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) criticized the surveillance in a statement: "As the author of the Patriot Act, I'm extremely troubled by the FBI's interpretation of this legislation." Last year, lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee complained about "overbroad" surveillance in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, stating, "We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act."

We'll ask the Justice Department's André Birotte about how far he goes in using the Patriot Act and how he balances national security with civil liberties. Birotte’s office has also been the main investigating body into the Ron Calderon affair. On Tuesday, the California Senator's offices were searched by the FBI. When will investigators disclose what's behind the search?

Birotte's office is also in charge of executing the federal policy on marijuana laws. Exactly what those policies are has shifted to and fro under President Obama and AG Holder. What is Birotte's reaction to Los Angeles voters approving a ballot for 100-plus medical marijuana dispensaries.

In other Justice news, Birotte's office has worked diligently on insider trading crimes at KPMG, as well as tracking child pornography traffickers. And, last but not least, last month Birotte's office charged Walmart with dumping hazardous waste. The company was fined $82 million for violating the Clean Water Act. What other questions do you have for André  Birotte?

André Birotte, Jr., United States Attorney for the Central District of California; As US Attorney, Birotte oversees 260-plus attorneys for the Department of Justice; Sworn in March 2010, Birotte is a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Civil Rights, Cyber/Intellectual Property, Terrorism/National Security, Violent and Organized Crime, and Border and Immigration Law Enforcement Sub-Committees; and Co-Chair, Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s Consumer Protection Working Group; Former LAPD Inspector General