Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged Thursday to take concrete steps to address concerns that the Justice Department has overreached in its leak investigations and said officials would seek procedural and possibly legislative changes to protect journalists’ First Amendment rights. Holder’s commitment came at a private meeting with news executives after criticism that the Justice Department had infringed on the news media in several high-profile leak investigations. Participants said he told them officials would revise guidelines for issuing subpoenas to obtain reporters’ phone records. The 90-minute meeting was attended by a small group of journalists after several news organizations objected to the Justice Department’s insistence that it be held off the record. The participants, however, reached an agreement with the Justice Department under which they could describe what occurred during the meeting in general terms...
Eric Holder pledged to take "concrete steps" to address the actions of Eric Holder -- up to and (possibly) including backing legislative action that would curtail Eric Holder's ability to abuse Eric Holder's power. What a guy. Direct quotes would be priceless here, but those weren't allowed, of course. Instead, the DOJ very magnanimously permitted reporters to offer "general" accounts of what was discussed. There's more:
Holder and aides “completely endorsed the president’s statement that reporters should not be at legal risk for doing their job,” said Martin Baron, The Washington Post’s executive editor, who was among the participants. “They acknowledged the need for changes in their own guidelines and the need to have a more rigorous internal review.”
Reassuringly, Eric Holder has "completely endorsed" a principle that Eric Holder has already explicitly violated. How many times has Eric Holder done so? Eric Holder can't quite say. Click through to witness the pitiful spectacle of journalists quoting each other and vaguely discussing a meeting they've been barred from describing in any detail. Finally, for good measure:
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
UPDATE - Eric Holder has decided to "loosen" the rules regarding what attending journalists are allowed to report. The contents of today's meetings are "largely" permitted for publication, whatever that means.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography