An update to my post below
from this morning's hearing.
If Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is to be believed, no one in the Senate, not even himself, realized that the law had been changed governing the nomination of U.S. Attorneys -- a change that gave the administration the power to appoint federal prosecutors indefinitely without Senate confirmation.
In later remarks during this morning's hearing, Specter explained to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that he didn't know about the provision until she approached him on the floor and asked about it recently. He then asked his chief counsel, Michael O'Neill, who explained that the provision had been inserted into the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act at the request of the Department of Justice.
So Specter is angry
at the insinuation that he "slipped in" the change... but not even he knew that his own staff member had made the change.