The Justice Department on Monday formally told House Republicans that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s testimony before a Congressional committee last month was “accurate and consistent” with the facts.
The answers provided by one of the department’s top deputies are likely to do little, however, to resolve the dispute over whether Mr. Holder misled Congress by denying that the Justice Department had considered prosecuting journalists under the Espionage Act.
In testimony on May 15, Mr. Holder dismissed the notion that reporters writing about national security secrets should be indicted under the Espionage Act, saying: “With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy.”
But since then the department confirmed that Mr. Holder had approved a request for a search warrant in 2010 for the private correspondence of James Rosen, a Fox News reporter who disclosed a North Korean nuclear test that had not been made public. An affidavit filed in the investigation said there was probable cause to believe Mr. Rosen had violated the Espionage Act.
Via Fox News:
Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday accused Attorney General Eric Holder of having “something to hide,” after the Justice Department issued a formal defense of his questionable testimony on reporter surveillance — a defense Republicans rejected as inadequate.
“This response is insulting and further proof that Attorney General Holder refuses to hold himself accountable,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said.
Holder was facing a Wednesday deadline, set by the committee, to explain his May 15 testimony.
At the time, the attorney general said under oath he knew nothing of the “potential prosecution” of the press. Days later, it emerged that Holder was involved in his department’s successful effort to obtain Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal emails — the DOJ sought access to the documents by arguing Rosen was a likely criminal “co-conspirator” in a leak case.