Senate Set to Vote on Former FBI General Counsel’s Nomination to U.S. District Court
By Jennifer Koons | September 6, 2013 1:09 pm

The Senate on Monday will vote on the long-stalled nomination of former FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni to sit on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Valerie E. Caproni

Caproni, who served as the FBI’s top in-house lawyer from 2003 to 2011, was initially nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2012. The Senate did not act on the nomination, and it expired at the end of the 112th Congress.

She was among some 30 judge nominees to be put forward again in the 113th Congress, which opened on Jan. 3. And in June, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination by voice vote.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member on the Judiciary, and others have questioned Caproni’s oversight of a controversial intelligence-gathering tool.

In March, Grassley sent a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz asking him to explain why he hasn’t released “all working papers, draft reports, and correspondence” between the OIG and Caproni.

A 2010 OIG report examined the FBI’s practice between 2003 and 2006 of issuing so-called national security letters to obtain telephone toll records and then often issue retroactive approvals to justify its actions. The Patriot Act, passed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, expanded the FBI’s authority to issue national security letters to obtain phone and bank records without securing a warrant.

In prepared remarks during the June panel vote, Grassley suggested he may consider holding up a floor vote on the nominee.

Caproni was succeeded at the FBI by former Jenner & Block LLP partner Andrew Weissmann in 2011. She is also a former deputy general counsel at Northrop Grumman Corporation.

If confirmed, she would fill the seat left open by U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell, who resigned from the bench last February.

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