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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

June 6, 2013 - 1:56 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder brushed off a question at today’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science and Related Agencies hearing on whether phones of the legislative branch were being monitored by the executive branch with help of the judicial branch.

“I want to take you to the Verizon scandal, and which I understand takes us to possibly monitoring up to 120 million calls. You know when government bureaucrats are sloppy, they’re usually very sloppy,” said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). “I want to just ask, could you assure to us that no phones inside the Capitol were monitored of members of Congress that would give a future executive branch, if they started pulling this kind of thing up, that would give them unique leverage over the legislature?”

“With all due respect, Senator I don’t think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss that issue. I’d be more than glad to come back in a — in an appropriate setting to discuss the issues that — that you have raised,” Holder responded.

“I would interrupt you and say the correct answer would be to say no, we stayed within our lane and I’m assuring you we did not spy on members of Congress,” Kirk interjected.

Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) jumped in, saying that when she read the story in the New York Times this morning “it was like, oh God, not one more thing.”

“And not one more thing where we’re trying to protect America, and then it looks like we’re spying on America. I think the full Senate needs to get a brief on this. And I think we need the attorney general. I think we need the National Security Agency, and other appropriate people. This is in no way to minimize, actually, Senator Kirk your very excellent question,” Mikulski added.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said “the sooner the better” he hoped Mikulski, as chairwoman and a member of the Intelligence Committee, “would create the appropriate forum, that is a classified hearing to get into this where the attorney general could be open with us.”

“I think that what Senator Kirk is raising, is a very important question,” Shelby said.

Mikulski vowed to send notes to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) because the question cuts across committees, including Judiciary and Armed Services.

Kirk, also an attorney, said he wanted to ensure “that when you’re jumping out of your executive branch lane, you want to make sure you’re not gaining new intel and leverage over separated powers under our Constitution.”

“I would hope that we would get absolute assurance that not a single Supreme Court justice was at all involved in this whole Verizon thing,” he added.

“Senator Kirk, please do not take my response as something — as anything but being respectful of the concerns that you have raised. There has been no intention to do anything of that nature, that is to spy on members of Congress, to spy on members of the Supreme Court,” Holder said.

“Without getting into anything specific, I will say this, that with regard to — members of Congress have been fully briefed as these issues, matters, have been underway. I’m not really comfortable in saying an awful lot more about that. But the concerns that you have raised…” he continued before Mikulski interjected that “fully briefed” usually means a group of eight congressional leaders.

Kirk said he raised the questions because “someone, whoever was running this program, knows they really screwed up.”

“I would just ask that you kind of seize the records and not allow the destruction of evidence that they have accidentally monitored other branches of the government,” he said.

“As I said, I’d be more than glad to discuss this in an appropriate setting,” Holder responded.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
How appropriate that Orwell's 1984 was first published 64 years ago today. He could not have guessed just how right on he was.

Note to all Senators: Why the focus on whether or not the Legislative branch of government was spied on? Isn't it bad enough that regular Americans were spied on? Or does that not matter?

This isn't really 'news' is it? Most Legislators already knew this was being done - but had to register their indignation that Congress might be spied on. Better get used to it if we keep electing the likes of Team Chicago!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The fact that the answer wasn't "no" means it was "yes."
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
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Holder is dirty.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
So their ( open ) "secret's not a secret anymore".

The ONLY time the guardians of the Rights of American citizens per Constitution/FUNDAMENTAL LAW aka "representatives of the citizens" is when the "representatives of the People's" civil rights are abused by government agents/agencies.

That "enlightened self interest for which these representatives are unapologetic and renowned. If ya got it flaunt it.

No understanding or interest from these guardians who contract for their privileges and perquisites as "Honourables" with oath to uphold and defend that Constitiuton of the denial of the civil rights of citizens. Those boo-hiss ORDINARY citizens not members of their Freemasonry of government, academia, Hollywood/TV , snd the "king of the hill" the legacy media.

Yes, if ya got it flaunt it. Who's to stop ya? Those LIVs, their sexist, racist, guns and religion bigots, patriots and astro-turf ?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Holder knows they are toothless lions. What, him worry??
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
From his answer, it sounds like Holder already knows that they were spying on members of Congress, as well. If they were, it's only a matter of time until it's exposed. If it's TRUE, it will bring down the Obama Administration.....
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Political power at any cost ... this "spying" effectively exposes the MO of this entire administration in that ... they can spin anything they want with impunity because they can threaten anyone that interferes. The "arrogance" comes from knowing that they have the "goods" on their opponents.
The goal is to trash opponents so that 2014 will be a stepping stone to an all out attack, as in no holes barred. The ammo purchases and fake "terrorist" drills are making more sense - a one party future is what they want; and it doesn't include Democrats OR Republicans ... just internationalist reprobates governing from the U.N.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Their methods in an outright onslaught of threats, exposure and blackmailing got their 'obamacare' approved by Roberts at the supreme court. His made-up strange reasoning tells the story.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is an "appropriate setting"? Holder's office suite?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
More likely Guantanamo.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama will never toss Holder. Never. Rather, he will double down on his support of Holder just as he has with Susan Rice and others.

It is up to the U.S. House to IMPEACH Holder. And after that, for the Senate to convict him of perjury.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jarrett just announced to the world that Holder "absolutely must stay". Obama again, says nothing, so he's protected.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course she id; holder is the firewall around this corrupt regime, run by Jarrett and puppy following of Obama.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
If just 6 months ago I wrote that anyone commenting on this site expressing conservative values might be spied on by our government you would laugh me off. Comments about "how's that tinfoil hat of yours fitting," or "Look out pal the MIB's are watching you," or perhaps, "YOU PARANOID BASTARD, GET A LIFE!"
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, and Glenn Beck is a kook. Vilification is so useful as a tool.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
PJMedia has added a cool feature where they aggregate your comments so you can see a list of them. This is both disturbing and cool, but it doesn't yet track back to give an easy way to follow comments in a thread. It is an improvement and I thank you.

The government reads this and I'm up against the wall, and it was worth it.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Holder: Do members of Congress use phones? Do they use the internet? Do you always ask dumb questions?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ms. Johnson: The DOJ is NOT part of the Judicial branch of the government. It is part of the Executive branch.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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