Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) questioned FBI Director Robert Mueller about the Administration's controversial surveillance programs at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee today. Rep. Labrador, a member of the Committee, pressed Director Mueller about how the Administration could legally justify tapping the phone and searching through the emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen, even though Attorney General Eric Holder had already testified before the Committee that Rosen was never a target for prosecution, and given the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Director Mueller was unable to recall a time in his career as a law enforcement officer ever going to a judge for a subpoena in these type of circumstances, saying "I might have to think about it."
Labrador: "The problem with the Rosen subpoena -- and the problem that we have with this investigation -- is that Mr. Rosen was never intended to be prosecuted, according to the Attorney General. So this was a fishing expedition, something that I think went beyond the Fourth Amendment, which wasn't necessary. So they have to go around, shopping for different judges who would actually approve of this subpoena."
Mueller: "I don't perceive it as being a fishing expedition at all. As I indicated previously, in these investigations we -- the FBI -- focus on the leaker from the federal government. That's the person we want to identify and to ultimately prosecute. To do that, we have to show that the information went from this person to the person who ultimately published it. And as part of the investigation, you gather facts in terms of how that information got from the individual who had the security."
Labrador: "But when you go to the judge, you tell the judge that you're intending to prosecute this person, that this person has violated the law in some way, or you have reasonable suspicion to believe that this person has violated the law. How often have you, as a law enforcement officer, submitted a subpoena to a judge, saying you suspect somebody has violated the law when you had no intention to ever prosecute that person?"
Mueller: "Under those circumstances, the way you say it, I might have to think about it."