By Charlotte Alter
March 12, 2014

In case you didn’t know already, Tuesday’s speech made it clear that Senator Dianne Feinstein is a lean, mean spybusting machine. The longtime California Senator and Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly turned on the CIA Tuesday when she accused the spy agency of illegally hacking into Senate computers used to investigate Bush-era intelligence practices.

But this isn’t the first time Feinstein has spoken truth to power. Here are a few of her greatest hits:

1) You wouldn’t know it from her speech Tuesday, but Feinstein had a late night Monday night. That’s because the octogenarian was part of an all-night congressional session to raise awareness about climate change. “If we do nothing, the Sierra Nevada spring snowpack could drop by as much as 60 to 80 percent by the end of the century, eliminating the water source for nearly 16 million people,” the Senator said.

2) It was Feinstein who tried to push an assault weapons ban through Congress after the Newtown shootings, but her ban failed in a 40-60 vote. In her final appeal to her colleagues to vote to ban assault weapons, she demanded that the rest of the Senate “show some guts.” “The most important duty a government has is to protect its citizens’ safety,” she said. “When 20 beautiful first-graders are slaughtered, our government has failed that duty.” She spoke next to an image of the front page of the New York Daily News that read “Shame on U.S.”

3) In her continued fight for an assault weapons ban, Feinstein delivered an epic takedown of colleague Ted Cruz when he tried to mansplain the Constitution to her (via Daily Beast)

BOOM! Who needs a bazooka when you have Dianne Feinstein?

4) She worked closely with gay rights leader Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, and she was there the day they were assassinated by ex-supervisor Dan White in 1978. White murdered Milk and Moscone because he wanted his government seat back, and when Feinstein learned that Moscone was planning to give it to someone else, she tried to track down White to explain the situation. She described that day to the San Francisco Chronicle:

Feinstein later went on to replace Moscone as Mayor of San Francisco.

MORE: Top Lawmaker Accuses CIA of Illegally Snooping on Senate

5) She’s also a peacemaker: Feinstein hosted the first meeting between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama after Obama nabbed the 2008 nomination. She set up two chairs and put out some water, and then left the candidates alone to talk it out:

Keep doing what you’re doing, Dianne!

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

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