Eric London: US Attorney General Eric Holder Personally Approved Obama's
Secret Effort to Seize Email and Phone Records of News Reporters. US Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the Obama administration's secret effort to seize email records of Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2010. The Justice Department was forced to admit this fact, following an NBC News report documenting Holder's role. In an unofficial statement, issued last Friday, the Justice Department hypocritically claimed it "takes seriously the First Amendment right to freedom of the press. In recognition of this, the Department took great care in deciding that a search warrant was necessary in this matter, vetting the decision at the highest levels of the Department, including discussions with the Attorney General. The announcement amounts to an admission that Holder lied when he testified before Congress on May 15 regarding the administration's crackdown on information disclosures, made by government officials to journalists. With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, Holder told Congress two weeks ago, that is not something that I've ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy. In fact, my view is quite the opposite. In fact, Holder took part in extensive deliberations on the subject, according to the recent administration statement, before making the blatantly unconstitutional decision to spy on Rosen and his private communications. To obtain the warrant, it was necessary to claim that Rosen was likely involved in criminal activity, by seeking to obtain information from a government source. Holder's admission follows revelations by the Associated Press, that the Justice Department secretly used a subpoena earlier this year to obtain phone records of AP reporters and editors as part of an investigation to identify the source of a leak about the foiling of an alleged terrorist attack linked to Yemen. AP President and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt told a staff meeting Wednesday that phone records obtained by the government included thousands and thousands of calls in and out of the news organization, according to a staffer who attended. The Obama administration acted as judge, jury and executioner in secretly obtaining the news organization's records, Pruitt said. In an effort to deflect growing public opposition, the Justice Department issued a statement, saying it planned to establish standard operating procedures to monitor the activities of reporters. The department wanted to strike the appropriate balance between its obligation to enforce the laws, preventing leaks of classified information and First Amendment rights, and, through a new media shield law and appropriate updates to the Department's internal guidelines, we are committed to achieving that balance.