The top GOP member of the Senate Intelligence Committee blasted Attorney General Eric Holder on Saturday for having allegedly refused to brief senators on last weekend's attempted Times Square bombing.
Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), the ranking member of the intelligence panel, accused Holder of obstructing congressional inquiries into the attempted attack.
The Justice Department expressed dismay at Bond's assertions in response, saying that a briefing is planned for members of the Intelligence committee on Tuesday.
"It seems Attorney General Holder is only interested in looking tough on terrorism on TV since he’s now told the intelligence community to skirt the national security law and give only the details he wants and when to Congress," Bond said Saturday.
Both Bond and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Intelligence committee, said earlier this week that the administration had not made clear to them how Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the attempted attack in New York, was interrogated and handled after having been arrested late Monday night.
A Bond spokesperson said the senator had a ten-minute phone conversation with an intelligence official about the issue on Tuesday following Holder's press conference to announce Shahzad's arrest. But since then, the spokesperson said, Bond has been unable to get additional briefings or details.
"“I'm not sure what Senator Bond is talking about," said Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman. "We offered to make people available to brief the Senate Intelligence committee yesterday, but committee members were unavailable until next week."
Bond had specifically been looking for information on whether a special interrogation team, the High-Value Interrogation Group (HIG), was brought in to question Shahzad following his arrest. The Department of Justice, Bond's spokesperson said, has so far refused to turn over the charter and activities of the HIG, as well as information on the intelligence used to determine the release of terror suspects from the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"The Department of Justice continues to play political games with national security - withholding information on this terrorist to Congressional intell leaders is just the latest obstruction," Bond said Saturday.
Miller laid out the schedule for lawmaker briefings in the future, and outlined briefings provided in the past week to members of Congress.
"We are already scheduled to brief the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, something we assume Senator Bond is aware of since that meeting was confirmed yesterday," he said. "On Thursday, representatives from the Justice Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence community provided briefings on the Times Square investigation to staff from the House Homeland Security Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, House Appropriations subcommittees of jurisdiction, and the House leadership."
Holder will make the administration's case for handling terror suspects during appearances on ABC and NBC on Sunday morning.
This post was updated at 3:28 p.m.