Grassley pushes Holder on NSA abuses

Greg Nash

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday pushed Attorney General Eric Holder for more information on abuses of government surveillance authority.

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During a Wednesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Grassley asked Holder to provide more information about reported surveillance abuses, including whether those abuses has resulted in prosecutions, in a timely matter.

Last year, Grassley pressed Holder and the inspector general of the National Security Agency for more information about reports that some agency employees have used its surveillance tools, including data about virtually all American phone calls, for personal purposes.

“In October, I wrote to you to request information about how the department handled these cases,” Grassley said Wednesday. “I asked for a response by Dec. 1st. I haven’t received one.”

Holder said he agreed with Grassley that the use of NSA tools for personal reasons “is totally inappropriate” and pledged to provide response to Grassley’s questions.

“It’s important for the public to know whether the department is taking these cases seriously,” Grassley said. “We need to deter this kind of behavior in the future, given the NSA’s powerful capabilities.”