- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Aides for the House Judiciary Committee say members are investigating whether Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. lied under oath during congressional testimony May 15 about the Justice Department’s probe into media leaks, according to several published reports.

The lawmakers are looking at one statement in particular, an exchange with Rep. Henry C. Johnson Jr., Georgia Democrat, when the attorney general appeared to deny any direct knowledge of the recent Justice Department-led probes of national security leaks that have included targeting journalists at The Associated Press and Fox News.

“With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material — that is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, would think would be wise policy,” Mr. Holder said at the hearing. “The focus should be on those people who break their oaths and put the American people at risk, not reporters who gather this information.”

He told the committee he had recused himself from the investigation.

NBC News subsequently reported that Mr. Holder personally signed off on a search warrant that named Fox News reporter James Rosen and accused him of conspiring to publish a leak of classified material for a story on North Korea.

Last week, two senior House Republicans — Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, chairman of the panel’s subcommittee on investigations, asked Deputy Attorney General James Cole in a letter to explain when and to whom Mr. Holder recused himself in the Justice Department’s decision in the AP case. They said Mr. Cole was in the best position to judge the veracity of Mr. Holder’s account.

Mr. Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee before the media reports broke about the Justice Department’s targeting of Mr. Rosen.

The Hill newspaper first reported the investigation into whether Mr. Holder was truthful in his testimony.

Mr. Holder, who has clashed repeatedly with House Republicans, appeared to be getting some support from the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Rep. John Conyers Jr.

“I believe Attorney General Holder, who answered questions posed to him for over four hours, was forthright and did not mislead the committee,” the Michigan Democrat told CNN.

Jerry Seper contributed to this report.

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