[Congressional Record: September 23, 2011 (Senate)]
[Page S5941]                 

                        TRIBUTE TO MIKE DAVIDSON

  Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, I rise to commend and thank Mike 
Davidson for his decades of extraordinarily dedicated and consequential 
service to our Nation, most recently as the general counsel for the 
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence over the past 8 years.
  Many others have praised the wise, discerning, and sound counsel that 
has characterized every step of Mike's distinguished career, from his 
time in the Peace Corps in Kenya in the mid-1960s throughout his 
decades of service since then: as a litigator for the NAACP Legal 
Defense Fund, as a professor of clinical law at the State University of 
New York at Buffalo, as chief staff counsel for the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the District of Columbia, as the first legal counsel of the 
Senate, and, following his first retirement from the Senate in 1995, as 
counsel for several important public initiatives--including, most 
prominently, serving as general counsel for the Joint Inquiry into 
Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist 
Attacks of September 11, 2001.
  This exceptionally distinguished record speaks for itself, and in 
2003 it led me to recruit Mike back to full-time service in the Senate. 
As the Intelligence Committee's vice chairman at the time, I asked Mike 
to serve as the committee's minority counsel, a position he held from 
2003 through 2006. When I became the committee's chairman in 2007, I 
asked Mike to undertake the duties of general counsel. He agreed to 
take on this role, and he continued to serve me and the committee well 
throughout the 2 years that I was chairman. After I passed on the gavel 
to Senator Dianne Feinstein in 2009, Mike stayed on for nearly 3 more 
years, until his quiet retirement earlier this month.
  Throughout this time on the committee, Mike's calm and unflappable 
presence; his evenhanded, understated, and fair approach to even the 
most contentious issues; his painstaking attention to detail and 
unfailing memory; and, above all, his dedication to the law and to the 
security interests of the United States, have served this committee and 
our Nation well. Day in and day out, we knew we could rely on Mike's 
counsel. Whether it was a situation involving routine oversight or a 
matter of great sensitivity and historical importance--of which there 
were many during those years, including our investigations into the 
intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, our efforts 
to end the CIA's coercive interrogations, our drafting and passing the 
landmark Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act of 2008, 
among others--Mike Davidson's legal acumen and advice were invariably 
excellent, and also indispensable to the work of the committee.
  My colleagues and I trusted Mike's judgment implicitly. His example 
of dedicated public service and his exceptional day-to-day performance 
on the job earned our respect and admiration, and it inspired a 
generation of staff who had the privilege to work alongside him.
  We will miss Mike dearly, but his legacy will remain a part of the 
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for years to come. We wish him 
well in his second retirement, even as we leave the light on for him 
just in case he decides to serve again.