WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Louie Gohmert clashed Wednesday on how the FBI conducted its investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing.
Early in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder said he felt the FBI’s investigation into the terrorist bombings had been “thorough.” Texas Republican Gohmert took issue with that idea, pursuing a line of questioning about what the FBI had and had not asked Tamerlan Tsarnaev after they received information from Russian intelligence indicating he had become radicalized.
Gohmert explained he was “trying to determine how the FBI blew the opportunity to save people’s lives by accepting the Russian information and following up on it.”
The Republican congressman claimed that the investigation had been derailed due to concerns about profiling of Muslims. Gohmert asked whether the FBI’s questions for Tsarnaev had focused on his Muslim beliefs and his involvement with the Islamic Society of Boston, an organization that holds radical views and has connections to terrorist front groups.
“A lot of people are concerned about profiling, but there are a lot more people concerned about getting blown up by a terrorist,” he said.
Holder snapped back at Gohmert, telling him the assertions he was making could not possibly be based in fact, since he did not have access to the information about the FBI’s ongoing investigation.
“Unless somebody has done something inappropriate, you don’t have access to the FBI files, you don’t know what the FBI did,” Holder said.
“You simply do not know. And he has characterized the FBI as being not thorough and taken exeption to my characterization of them being thorough. I know what the FBI did,” Holder continued. “You cannot know what I know.”
Gohmert, true to form lashed back, insisting on a point of order so that he could defend his honor and claiming that Holder was trying to “attack [his] integrity,” and allege that he was making untrue allegations.
Holder again told Gohmert that he could not have any idea what he was talking about, unless someone involved in the investigation had given him information, which, Holder said, “I do not believe … happened.”