An already-ugly House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday turned even nastier when Texas Republican Louie Gohmert took the wheel on questions related to last month’s Boston Marathon bombing–specifically, about what the FBI did and did not do after receiving information from Russian intelligence that suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been radicalized.
Attorney General Eric Holder had already faced a heavy grilling on both the AP and IRS scandals plaguing the Obama administration this week when Gohmert began pelting him with accusations that the FBI shirked a thorough examination of Tsarnaev because of “political correctness.”
“On the one hand, we go after Christian groups like Billy Graham’s group, we go after Franklin Graham’s group, but then we’re hands off when it comes to possibly offending someone who has been radicalized as a terrorist,” said Gohmert.
The Texas lawmaker added that though he “appreciated” the concern of racial profiling, he believes “there were a lot more people in America concerned about being blown up by terrorists.”
Holder fired back that Gohmert was speaking “as a matter of fact” about information not fully available to him.
“Unless somebody’s done something inappropriate, you don’t have access to the FBI files,” said Holder. “You don’t know what the FBI did. You don’t know what the FBI’s interaction was with the Russians. You don’t know what questions were put to the Russians, whether those questions were responded to. You simply do not know that…I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know.”
Wednesday’s hearing was not the first time Rep. Gohmert attacked Holder on his handling of the Boston bombing. Last month, the Texas lawmaker suggested on Glenn Beck’s radio show that Holder allowed a federal magistrate to read Tsarnaev’s brother, Dzhokhar, his Miranda rights because the attorney general was sympathetic to terrorists.
During the course of Wednesday’s hearing, Boston Police raised the flag over their headquarters to full staff at 2:50 pm–exactly one month since the bombings. Officers also removed the black mourning bands from their badges and observed a moment of silence.
Watch Holder and Gohmert spar during Wednesday’s House hearing.