It’s the sort of advocacy money can’t buy: At a hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in September, National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell bluntly told the Senate Judiciary Committee that a flurry of privacy lawsuits against telecom companies poses a threat to national security.

“You’re up here lobbying us to wipe out these cases retroactively by legislation,” committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) responded.

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