- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
Attorney General Holder defends Justice Department subpoena power against news media
Mr. Holder is expected to be questioned about the matter Wednesday during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, said he plans to ask Mr. Holder “pointed questions” about the issue.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle had plenty of questions Tuesday.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said he is “very troubled” by the accusations.
“The burden is always on the government when they go after private information — especially information regarding the press or its confidential sources,” he said. “I am concerned that the government may not have met that burden.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned whether Mr. Holder had signed off on the seizure of the AP records.
“The department’s regulations state that prosecutors should obtain the attorney general’s personal sign-off when a free press is at stake, so the Obama administration needs to be transparent with its rationale for such a sweeping intrusion and detail whether the process outlined in regulation and the U.S. attorney’s manual were followed and justified for national security,” he said.
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. in Washington acknowledged in a letter to the AP that his office had obtained the records. His spokesman, Bill Miller, said Mr. Machen’s office takes seriously its obligations to follow all applicable laws, federal regulations and Justice Department policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations.
“Those regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media. We must notify the media organization in advance unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation,” he said.
“Because we value the freedom of the press, we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and the public interest in the fair and effective administration of our criminal laws,” he said.
The AP said it was notified of the seizure after the records already had been obtained. The news organization also said it held the story at the request of the administration for a time and published it only when officials told AP that national security concerns had been allayed.
The story on the foiled Yemen plot was published one day before President Obama planned to release the news publicly.
The White House on Tuesday said it had no knowledge of the investigation and referred all inquiries to the Justice Department.
“The president is a strong defender of the First Amendment,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “He also of course recognizes the need for the Justice Department to investigate alleged criminal activity without undue influence.”
Pattern of scandal
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- With bombs away, drug traffickers and illegal immigrants make their play
- Medical-device company exec admits to bilking shareholders of $400M
- Justice Dept: Florida's disabled children unnecessarily put in nursing facilities
- Man gets 11 years in Philadelphia mob crackdown
- Eric Holder asks for respect from protesters of George Zimmerman verdict
Latest Blog Entries
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A distant third: Joe Biden struggles for traction in early 2016 jousting
- Obama conciliatory on immigration
- Obama: Conversation with Cantor was 'friendly'
- Obama: 'Our hearts ache' over South Korean ferry tragedy
- Beau Biden announces Delaware gubernatorial bid
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Joy Overbeck
Redemption by government is futile
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Chavez seizes Cargill factory
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.