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Congressman alleges DOJ ‘tapped’ House cloakroom

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A Congressman from California makes the logical connection that the Justice Department has been obtaining records of calls made from telephone located in the House of Representatives’ cloakroom, a “members only” area of the Capitol Building.

Talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. Photo credit www.last.fm

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., discussed a number of issues on the Hugh Hewitt radio program Wednesday evening, beginning with the scandal involving the IRS. Eventually, Hewitt steered the conversation to the scandal involving the Justice Department’s warrantless searches of Associated Press reporters’ telephone records, according to The Weekly Standard.

“I don’t trust the Department of Justice on this,” said Hewitt. “Do you, Congressman Nunes?”

“No, I absolutely do not, especially after this wiretapping incident, essentially, of the House of Representative. I don’t think people are focusing on the right thing when they talk about going after the AP reporters. The big problem that I see is that they actually tapped right where I’m sitting right now, the cloakroom,” Nunes replied.

Although the congressman used the word “tapped,” he makes it clear later in the conversation that he actually means that the Justice Department secured records of many of the phone calls coming in and out of the House cloakroom.

Hewitt was taken aback. “Wait a minute, this is news to me,” he said.

“The cloakroom in the House of Representatives,” Nunes repeated.

Hewitt again expressed surprise. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said the radio host.

Devin Nunes photo credit blog.heritage.org

“So when they went after the AP reporters, right? Went after all of their phone records, they went after the phone records, including right up here in the House Gallery, right up from where I’m sitting right now. So you have a real separation of powers issue that did this really rise to the level that you would have to get phone records that would, that would most likely include members of Congress, because as you know …”

Hewitt interjected, “Wow.”

“… members of Congress talk to the press all the time,” Nunes continued.

Hewitt replied, “I did not know that, and that is a stunner.”

Although Nunes incorrectly used the word “tapped” in place of “logged” with reference to congressional phone calls, he nonetheless made a valid point. If the Justice Department has been logging calls made to and from AP reporters, then by extension, the calls at the other end are also being logged — including those going in and out of the House cloakroom as well as lawmakers’ personal phones.


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