– AG Holder To Recuse Himself From AP Leak-Gate Investigation (ZeroHedge, May 14, 2013):
From one farce to another:
- *HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF FROM AP PHONE RECORDS CASE
- *HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF BECAUSE HE WAS QUESTIONED IN CASE
Yesterday, the Associated Press revealed the Department of Justice had been secretly monitoring both the personal and work phones of numerous AP editors and reporters. So just what did Holder know? For now, it is not known if Holder authorized or even knew about the investigation.
– Attorney General Holder recused himself from AP subpoena (Reuters, May 14, 2013):
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday that he recused himself from the Justice Department’s controversial decision to secretly seize telephone records of the Associated Press.
Instead, the decision to seek the media records was made by the deputy attorney general, Holder said. Jim Cole currently holds that position.
Holder recused himself from the matter to avoid a potential conflict of interest because he was interviewed by the FBI in connection with the investigation into unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
The seizure of AP telephone records appears connected to a criminal probe into information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb on an airplane headed for the United States.
The episode has created an uproar in Washington and led to questions over how the Obama administration is balancing the need for national security with privacy rights.
Holder, a frequent target of conservatives, appeared Tuesday afternoon with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss Medicare fraud but faced questions from reporters about the decision to pursue AP records.
The AP has said it was informed last Friday that the Justice Department had gathered records for more than 20 phone lines assigned to the news agency and its reporters.
The records covered April and May of last year, and were obtained earlier this year, the AP said.
The AP on Monday described the seizures as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news-gathering operations.
“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters,” AP Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in a letter sent to Holder on Monday.
An AP story on the records seizure said the government would not say why it sought them.
But it noted that U.S. officials have previously said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia was conducting the criminal investigation into the May 2012 AP story.
Five reporters and an editor involved in that story were among those whose phone records were obtained by the government, the AP said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a press briefing on Tuesday that President Barack Obama sought to balance support for a free press with the need to investigate leaks of classified information.
Carney reiterated that the White House was not involved in the decision to seize the AP records.