If I were in Congress, I would have voted against the Patriot Act and its re-authorization. Although the Act does provide important anti-terrorist tools, I believe it is extremely overbroad, in part because so many of the special anti-terrorism powers are not limited anti-terrorism, but can be used to enforce any federal law. But one of the civil liberties improvements in the revised Patriot Act is contained in section 504. That section changes 6 U.S.C. 531(a)(2), so that the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive now requires Senate confirmation of his or her appointment. Even if BATFE did not have a troubled history on civil liberties issues (some of which is detailed in my book No More Wacos: What's Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It), it makes sense for the head of any major federal law enforcement agency to be subject to the checks and balances of Senate confirmation.
BATFE Director now needs Senate Confirmation: