When President Barack Obama declared that journalists should not be prosecuted for “doing their jobs,” that “really was a backhand across the face” of Attorney General Eric Holder, conservative columnist and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said on Tuesday.
“He ought to get the message,” Buchanan told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “There’s a clear or apparent contradiction between what he told the committee and what he did in the matter of James Rosen and the Espionage Act. He’s got an obligation to clarify that.”
Last week, Obama asked Holder to review the Justice Department’s guidelines on how it investigates leaks of sensitive information, saying such probes would chill national security and investigative journalism.
The directive came after widespread criticism over Justice tracking the movements, telephone, and email conversations of Rosen, a Fox News reporter, in a 2009 investigation of a former State Department contractor who was later charged with leaking classified information.
In obtaining the warrant for Rosen’s records, FBI officials cited the Espionage Act of 1917 and named the journalist as a "co-conspirator" in the investigation. Holder signed the warrant.
The attorney general earlier this month told the House Judiciary Committee that he was not involved in the targeting of Rosen.
The Fox disclosure follows reports that Justice obtained the phone records of editors and reporters of The Associated Press. Holder told the House panel that he had recused himself of the decision to seek the AP records.
“This is the kind of slippery language and behavior you would expect not of an Attorney General of the United States but of some lawyer who really is well down the line in terms of ethics,” Buchanan told Hannity. “This is the Attorney General of the United States.
“The one thing that can keep him out of trouble other than incompetence, which is going to be placed upon him, is if they simply tell the honest truth to the American people — and Mr. Holder does not look like he is attempting to do that.”
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