Holder would prefer they waste their time looking for the mythical Tea Party “extremists.”

(Politico) — Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that he finds “disturbing” reports that New York Police Department conducted broad surveillance of Muslims outside New York City as part of counter-terrorism efforts.

“At least what I’ve read publicly, and, again, just what I’ve read in the newspapers, is disturbing,” Holder said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday morning. “And these are things that are under review at the Justice Department.”

Holder’s comments came after Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) asked the attorney general “how a law enforcement agency could spy on another state’s residents without notifying the authorities, the governor or the mayor even knowing about it?”

“I don’t know,” Holder replied. He said Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), a former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, recently complained to him about the NYPD activity.

“He expressed to me the concerns that he had. He’s now publicly expressed his concerns, as only he can,” Holder added.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has accused Christie of taking “cheap shots” at New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly over the program, which was disclosed in a long-running investigative series by the Associated Press.