Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder testified today in front of a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee amid recent reports that the Department of Justice had seized phone information about Associated Press journalists and that the National Security Agency was gathering the phone records of millions of Americans from Verizon.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) asked Holder whether or not the Department of Justice was spying on members of Congress as well.
However, Holder refused to give a straight answer in public, which didn't sit well with Sen. Kirk, notes Mediaite.com.
“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, would give them unique leverage over the legislature?" asked Sen. Kirk.
“With all due respect, Senator, I don’t think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss that issue,” Holder answered. “I’d be more than glad to come back in an appropriate setting to discuss the issues that you have raised, but in this open forum...”
“I would interrupt you and say the correct answer would be ‘No, we stayed within our lane and I’m assuring you we did not spy on members of Congress,'” Sen. Kirk lectured.
One reason for Holder's refusal to answer publicly could have been that a member of Congress might be under investigation for violating the law.