Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) took an opportunity Thursday to jab Attorney General Eric Holder over the recently revealed National Security Agency surveillance of Verizon phone customers.
In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Kirk asked Holder if the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order allowed certain phone lines in Washington to come under NSA scrutiny–in particular those that belong to members of Congress. Kirk expressed concern that monitoring the phone records of lawmakers could give a future executive branch an unfair advantage over legislators.
“I don’t think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss that issue,” Holder responded.
Kirk interrupted the attorney general, asserting that “the correct answer is no.”
As Kirk pressed the question, Holder repeated his offer to discuss the nature of the NSA surveillance outside the space of an open hearing. The committee later agreed that Holder will give a classified briefing to the full committee.