Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s (R-WI) response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony today at the oversight hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice before the House Judiciary Committee:

“As the head of the Department of Justice, it is Attorney General Holder’s responsibility to ensure the agency operates properly. But recent events further demonstrate that DOJ is inefficient and lacks adequate oversight and leadership. While the buck should stop with Attorney General Holder, he continues to pass the buck. He was not forthright at today’s hearing and refuses to hold himself or the Administration accountable. 

“We still need an adequate explanation on why the phone records of more than 20 AP reporters were subpoenaed.  The regulations place the responsibility for approving these requests directly on the attorney general. The Obama Administration claims to value the freedom of the press, but contradictorily, it has violated its own regulations regarding media subpoenas. While in certain instances, actions must be taken in the name of national security, the scope of this subpoena was an obvious abuse of power.

“The AP subpoena scandal also highlights the need for ECPA reform.  I have previously called for a warrant requirement before the government can request email content.  This scandal makes clear that the government should also have to pursue a warrant before obtaining phone records.  Americans, whether in the media or just ordinary citizens, should be protected from unnecessary government intrusions into their private lives.”