TODAY   |  April 10, 2013

Mitch McConnell claims headquarters were bugged

After a secret recording of Senator Mitch McConnell calling potential challenger Ashley Judd “unbalanced” were obtained by Mother Jones magazine, the McConnell campaign is asking the FBI to investigate who made the recording. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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>>> this morning the fbi is looking into a troubling allegation from senate minority leader mitch mcconnell . was his campaign headquarters bugged during a recent strategy session. chuck todd our chief white house correspondent good morning.

>> good morning, matt, it's mitch mcconnell talking campaign strategy. it's a whodunit mystery may end up reading like a hollywood movie script and in this case involves a hollywood actress.

>> unbeknownst at the time they were bugging the headquarters a nixonian move this is what you get from the political left in america these days.

>> reporter: 41 years after the watergate scandal that brought down the nixon presidency a powerful republican senator from kentucky is charging his opponents with ripping a page from nixon's playbook, bugging his office. mcconnell now firing back after 11 minutes of secret recordings were obtained by " mother jones " magazine from a february 2013 strategy meeting between mcconnell and top aides at his louisville headquarters. at the time the campaign was prepared to run against ashley judd who they considered a serious concontinueder. what they didn't know is that the blunt language they would use laying out her vulnerabilities would be caught on tape.

>> there's a haystack of needles.

>> reporter: they scoured her history and came to harsh conclusions.

>> she's clearly, this sounds emotional out of bounds and anti-sort of tradition american family . i think jesse tracked this down, she described having children as selfish.

>> reporter: judd made the decision weeks ago not to run. tuesday she lashed out at mcconnell for what she called pursuing the politics of personal destruction . the mcconnell campaign has asked the fbi to investigate who made the recording after a security team they hired found no evidence of a bug. the mcconnell campaign conducted what one aide described as an internal audit to make sure they were confident no one in the meeting was the leaker, after determining that was the case they went to the fbi . " mother jones " simply said it is our understanding that the tape was not the product of a watergate style bugging operation. by the way, hoda, they've only got 11 minutes of this recording, that's all and they've released all of it.

>> interesting, chuck todd live in washington, thanks.