By Julian Hattem - 02/02/15 05:47 PM EST
It’s been a year since Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySanders to Justice Department: Block media merger Freeing the False Claims Act Key GOP chairman calls for 'robust review' of AT&T-Time Warner deal MORE (R-Iowa) asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderSenior House Republicans fighting for their lives Issa hits back at Obama over campaign mailer Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs MORE how it handled National Security Agency officials who abused the agency's powers, and he still hasn’t gotten an answer.
Now, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee is renewing his call for Holder to explain whether or not any of the dozen people who used spying tools to track their spouses or others without authorization have been punished.
“Unfortunately, the American people still do not know whether anyone has been held accountable by the Department of Justice for abusing surveillance laws designed to acquire foreign intelligence information and protect the United States against terrorist attacks.”
In 2013, shortly after Edward Snowden released his trove of documents about the NSA, the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that there had been twelve documented instances of “intentional misuse” of the NSA’s communications collection powers by agency employees since 2003.
In one case, an employee spied on a phone number she found in her husband’s cellphone because she suspected he was cheating on her. In another, an NSA employee tracked nine different phone numbers belonging to foreign women — including at least one whom he had been sleeping with — and listened to their conversations.
At least six of those instances had been referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. But Holder has never responded to an October, 2013, letter from Grassley asking what happened after that.
In a hearing one year ago, Holder told Grassley that the department would respond “soon,” but that response never came.
“I believe it is appropriate that you respond to my original request without delay,” Grassley wrote on Monday.
Holder is set to leave the administration soon, assuming his successor is confirmed by the Senate. Confirmation hearings for Loretta Lynch, the attorney nominated by President Obama to replace Holder, were held last week.