House Republicans assail Eric Holder on leak testimony

WASHINGTON Wed May 29, 2013 5:30pm EDT

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder looks on during a special naturalization ceremony at the Department of Justice in Washington May 28, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder looks on during a special naturalization ceremony at the Department of Justice in Washington May 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Republican lawmakers asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday to clarify testimony he gave Congress this month about his role in the targeting of journalists in a leak probe.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and colleague James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin sent a letter to Holder saying recent media reports "appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony."

At the May 15 hearing, Holder said he had never been involved in any decision to pursue a criminal investigation of a journalist and said it would not be "wise policy" to do so.

Last week, news outlets reported that Holder had approved a decision to seek a search warrant for Fox News email records as part of a leak investigation. Reuters later reported Holder signed off on a subpoena for telephone records as well.

The Fox News reporter involved, James Rosen, was described as a "co-conspirator" by investigators, but was not charged.

A Justice Department official said the department had received the Republicans' letter and planned to show that Holder's testimony was consistent with the facts.

In a defense of Holder, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Holder had testified truthfully. Carney told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday there was an "extremely large distinction" between describing a reporter as a co-conspirator and charging him with a crime.

Carney said there are no plans to prosecute Rosen.

President Barack Obama "absolutely" has confidence in Holder to continue as the chief U.S. law enforcement officer, he said.

Concern from journalists and free speech advocates last week prompted Obama to order a review of Justice Department procedures governing investigations that involve reporters. Many of those procedures predate email.

On Thursday, as part of the review, Holder was scheduled to begin a series of meetings with Washington news bureau chiefs to allow them to air concerns and exchange ideas. Later meetings were being planned for news executives and lawyers, and for government intelligence and law enforcement officials, according to a Justice Department statement.


The letter on Wednesday from House Republicans focused not on the wider review but on the searches of Rosen's materials. It asked Holder for a "full and accurate account of your involvement in and approval of these search warrants."

Rosen reported in 2009 that U.S. intelligence officials believed North Korea would conduct more nuclear tests in response to U.N. sanctions. Stephen Kim, a former State Department analyst suspected of being Rosen's source, faces trial on charges he violated an anti-espionage law.

The Republicans' letter asks Holder to give a detailed account of his role and to respond to eight questions, including whether the Justice Department ever intended to prosecute Rosen.

U.S. Representative John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Holder had been "forthright and did not mislead the committee."

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Howard Goller and David Storey)

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Comments (80)
TheNewWorld wrote:

Can we add freedom of press to the things that Democrats were once for and are now against too?

May 29, 2013 2:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
lcky9 wrote:
NO he didn’t mislead congress HE LIED to them..

May 29, 2013 2:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jaybird7 wrote:
Being a patriot it is our duty to “hate” this abusive communist regime. You need to remove the ideological blinders you have on and do an honest evaluation of these people. If you’re a working citizen not taking handouts it is easy to see that all of Oligulia’s policies are designed to destroy the county in a futile effort to “equalize” outcomes. If you take human nature into account this isn’t possible and has been tried many times with the same outcome. See Soviet Union for a recent example.

May 29, 2013 2:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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