Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), perhaps best known for warning against a terrorist plot to have babies on U.S. soil, took aim at the "simpletons" of The Huffington Post on Tuesday during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on email privacy.
"Just so that the simpletons that sometimes write for Huffington Post understand, I don't want the government having all that information," said Gohmert.
"With a point of personal privilege, my son writes for The Huffington Post," replied Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) to laughs. Frank Sensenbrenner, a fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, has blogged for the site on Italian politics and the Vatican.
Gohmert tried to recover. "Well then, maybe he is not one of the simpletons I was referring to," he said.
"He does have a Ph.D.," continued Sensenbrenner.
Back on the hearing's topic, Gohmert expressed concern that the government could seek to learn the contents of all emails with words, as he said, such as "Benghazi."
The hearing concerned the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which sets a lower barrier for looking at email messages on a server that are older than 180 days: The law deems them "abandoned" and allows them to be accessed based on a subpoena instead of a search warrant. In her prepared testimony, Elana Tyrangiel, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy, said there was "no principled basis" for the distinction between older and newer email.
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