Attorney general Eric Holder said Wednesday that, as a general matter, his department supports having to get a warrant to access electronic communications from a service provider.
He did not exactly answer whether Justice thought it needed a warrant to get emails from a third party like Yahoo, but he did say that there should be certain limited circumstances when Justice would need to acquire info at the speed at which communications now move.
He said one of the key conversations the administration and Congress need to have is how to balance expectations of privacy and law enforcment's ability to acquire info. He said it would be good to come up with a set of rules that probably would not be perfect, but could meet "somewhere in the middle."
Holder was being questioned -- and sometimes grilled -- in an occasionally heated, marathon oversight hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.