Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham became frustrated with intelligence community lawyers Tuesday, when they would not answer a question about his conversations being picked up while the U.S. was spying on foreign targets.
Graham asked the lawyers at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday whether he is legally entitled to know if his communications are collected and “unmasked” within the administration. The identities of U.S. citizens inadvertently caught up in foreign spying are typically “masked” from officials to protect their privacy rights.
“It’s important to us to get the facts right,” Graham said. “Did the name come in masked or unmasked? Was it masked or unmasked as a result of the request from the White House?”
After the intelligence officials dodged the question several times and Graham’s questioning time expired, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley weighed in, insisting that Graham be given the time to complete the line of questioning.
“I wish my colleagues would appreciate what he is trying to do here and give him a little extra time, so proceed,” he said.
“In other words, I want you to proceed until you get an answer,” he continued, slamming his gavel. “I mean, if there’s anything in this country this people are entitled to, it’s an answer to their question!”
Grassley started to get extremely frustrated, screaming “In other words, I want you to proceed until you get an answer,” slamming his gavel. “I mean, if there’s anything in this country this people are entitled to, it’s an answer to their question!”
“I’m violently agreeing with you,” Graham said in response to Grassley, then joking: “If I were you, I’d answer my question, because he’s [Grassley] mad.”
Even after these comments Graham was not able to get a straight answer. The intelligence community lawyers present continued dodging the question.
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