With the likelihood that the Obama administration will soon be trying to find out who leaked information about the secret government programs to track telephone and email traffic of U.S. citizens, Rep. Louie Gohmert warned the news media to brace for the possibility of further abuses.
“It doesn’t look good for the press in the future," he told Fox News on Saturday.
“With Rosen and with the AP, they knew that there were only a handful of people in the administration who knew the evidence that got leaked,” the Texas Republican told host Gregg Jarrett.
Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, was referencing the widely disclosed investigations of Fox News reporter James Rosen and editors and reporters with the Associated Press. The investigations were conducted by the Justice Department with the knowledge — and in at least one of the cases — direct approval by Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Instead of going after records that they didn’t even need a subpoena for, they went after the AP and their employees. They went after James Rosen,” he said.
“That’s serious stuff. We have got to put an end to it. We need a change. It’s time for a new attorney general.”
Several law enforcement and security officials said on Friday that the Obama White House would most likely begin criminal investigations into the leaks on the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs that involved obtaining the telephone and Internet records of millions of Americans.
The officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said the agencies that normally conduct such investigations, including Justice and the FBI, were likely to be called upon to investigate the leaks to a British and an American newspaper.
Such inquiries typically begin after an agency that believes its secrets have been leaked without authorization files a complaint with the Justice Department.
In both the AP and Rosen investigations, Holder testified to the Judiciary Committee last month that he had no roles in them, despite news reports linking him to both scandals.
In the Rosen case, Holder signed the affidavit seeking the warrant to obtain the journalist’s telephone records. The document, prepared by the FBI, described Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in a 2009 leak of government information by a former State Department contractor.
Two federal judges initially refused to grant Holder’s warrant request before it was approved by a third judge.
In his House testimony last month, Holder said he had not planned to prosecute Rosen.
“Either, he was committing a fraud upon the court — because he had no intention of prosecuting James Rosen; he did not believe that James Rosen should be prosecuted, did not believe he was a flight risk, did not believe he was a co-conspirator who should not be prosecuted — or he did believe those things, and he lied to Congress,” Gohmert told Fox.
“In either of those cases, it was not being honest.”
The Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Holder for more information on the scandals.
Last June, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt for failing to provide information regarding the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running debacle.
The congressman said he had no problem holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress a second time should he refuse to cooperate.
“It would be time not only to find him in contempt but to defund the Justice Department until we get justice,” Gohmert said. “A Justice Department where they are just as interested in radical Islamic terrorists as the American public as a whole? We need a Justice Department that believes in justice.”
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