Senator Mark Kirk Grills U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on NSA Collection of Phone Records from Verizon Wireless

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Attorney General Eric Holder sidestepped questions about the government’s collection of Verizon phone records when asked in a hearing if any phones on Capitol Hill were monitored. Holder and senators agreed to a classified session.

In a Department of Justice budget hearing Thursday, June 6, 2013, Senator Mark Kirk asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder whether the NSA’s collection of the phone records of as many as 120 million Verizon customers might have also included members of the legislature.

“Can you assure us no members of the Capitol building were monitored?”

— Senator Mark Kirk

HOlder recommended he should not answer that question in an open forum. Kirk replied, “I think the correct answer is ‘we stayed within our lane and we did not spy on members of Congress.”

The Guardian newspaper in UK revealed Wednesday when the Guardian newspaper obtained a top secret order from the FBI sent to Verizon Business Services Network on the NSA’s behalf, demanding that it turn over to the NSA data on all of its American subscribers’ calls for a three month period.

Senators remain split over the NSA’s revelations about the surveillance program The top ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Diane Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, played down the scandal Thursday

“Every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this. o my knowledge there has not been any citizen who has registered a complaint. It has proved meritorious because we have collected significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years.”

— Saxby Chambliss

“While I cannot corroborate the details of this particular report, this sort of widescale surveillance should concern all of us and is the kind of government overreach I’ve said Americans would find shocking.”

— Senator Mark Udall

“Astounding assault” on the Constitution.”

— Senator Rand Paul

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