Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte said Sunday that the Justice Department has "damaged" its ability to investigate leaks properly because "they haven’t followed the rules" in recent media probes.
“You have a real crossing between First Amendment freedoms and overzealousness on the part of the Justice Department,” Goodlatte said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“It is important to investigate leaks ... but I would argue that in both the mishandling of the [James Rosen] case and the AP case, the Justice Department has damaged their ability to investigate leaks properly because they haven’t followed the rules,” said Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Republicans on the committee sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday questioning the truthfulness of assertions he made during a May 15 hearing that he was not involved aware of decisions by the Justice Department to name Fox News reporter James Rosen in connection with receiving a leak of national security information.
Goodlatte, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said Holder has until June 5 to respond to the letter.
“We want to hear from the attorney general in response to what you point out is a clear contradiction between his statement and the facts as we know them at this point,” Goodlatte told television host Chris Wallace, saying “it is fair to say” the committee is investigating Holder for perjury in the Justice Department’s handling of the leaks case.
The Virginia legislator maintains Holder was not being truthful when he testified before the committee, saying he was unaware of a probe into allegations that a warrant was issued for Rosen's records. In addition to the Rosen records, the Justice Department obtained phone records from reporters working for the Associated Press in a different leak investigation.
Goodlatte said the warrant involving Rosen, described as a co-conspirator with the alleged leaker and a flight risk, is questionable.
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