Jim In the News
House Judiciary Investigating Whether Holder Lied Under Oath
By Jonathan Easley
The House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his May 15 testimony on the Justice Department’s (DOJ) surveillance of reporters, an aide close to the matter told The Hill.
The panel is looking at a statement Holder made during a back and forth with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) about whether the DOJ could prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917.
“In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material - this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy,” Holder said during the hearing.
However, NBC News reported last week that Holder personally approved a search warrant that labeled Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen a co-conspirator in a national security leaks case.
The panel is investigating whether NBC’s report contradicts Holder’s claim that he had not looked into or been involved with a possible prosecution of the press in a leaks case.
Holder’s testimony at the hearing came before Justice’s actions against Rosen had become public. The hearing was held after the Associated Press revealed the Department of Justice had secretly subpoenaed its phone records in a separate leaks investigation.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.), the second-ranking Judiciary Committee Republican, told The Hill that Holder should resign.
He accused Holder of misleading the panel during the investigation of the Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation, and again when he claimed to not know about the AP probe.
“As we saw in Fast and Furious and are seeing now, Attorney General Holder refuses to hold himself accountable,” he said. “He misled the Judiciary Committee under oath when he said he had not heard about Fast and Furious and he misled us again when he claimed to be unaware of the AP scandal. The head of DOJ should be someone the American people can trust. Attorney General Holder should resign.”
The DOJ seized Rosen’s personal emails and used other surveillance methods to investigate whether he was complicit in a leak of classified information. It also examined Rosen’s phone records and tracked his visits to the State Department using security-badge data during the 2009 probe.
Justice filed legal papers saying Rosen may have acted as “an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” by getting materials from a government official also under investigation.
The investigation was primarily focused on rooting out Rosen’s source, a State Department worker who is facing federal charges for disclosing classified national security information and could see a trial as soon as next year.
The DOJ has also faced criticism over its seizure of phone records belonging to the AP. Unlike the Rosen case, the AP was never a target of that investigation.
The House voted to find Holder in contempt over his refusal to turn over documents to lawmakers on Fast and Furious, an operation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms purposely allowed guns to be illegally purchased in the U.S. and Mexico in the hope they could be tracked.
View online: The Hill