Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., discouraged colleagues from questioning National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander about the NSA’s surveillance of phone records, despite the interest in the program since press outlets publicized it last week.

“That’s not today. That’s for another day,” Mikulski said during her opening statement. [T]oday’s hearing will focus on cyber threat[s], protecting the American people, protecting the taxpayer, in their role as both citizen and taxpayer.”

Mikulski reminded lawmakers that she promised last week to hold a classified hearing on the NSA program for the full Appropriations Committee to attend. That promise came after Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., asked Attorney General Eric Holder if the national security community is spying on Congress.

“With all due respect, Senator, I don’t think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss [this issue],” Holder replied.

Kirk countered that “the correct answer would be, ‘No, we stayed within our lane, and we did not spy on members of Congress.’”