Holder runs into roadblocks on off-the-record meetings on leaks
May 29th, 2013
11:20 PM ET
1 year ago

Holder runs into roadblocks on off-the-record meetings on leaks

Updated at 12:38 p.m. ET on Thursday 5/30

Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder's plans to sit down with media representatives to discuss guidelines for handling investigations into leaks to the news media have run into trouble.

The Associated Press issued a statement Wednesday objecting to plans for the meetings to be off the record. "If it is not on the record, AP will not attend and instead will offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter," said Erin Madigan White, the AP's media relations manager.

The New York Times is taking the same position. "It isn't appropriate for us to attend an off-the-record meeting with the attorney general," executive editor Jill Abramson said in a statement.

Like the New York Times and the Associated Press, CNN will decline the invitation for an off-the-record meeting. A CNN spokesperson says if the meeting with the attorney general is on the record, CNN would plan to participate.

The Huffington Post's Washington bureau chief, Ryan Grim, also said he will not attend unless the meeting is on the record. "A conversation specifically about the freedom of the press should be an open one. We have a responsibility not to betray that," Grim told CNN.

But Politico posted an item on its website saying editor-in-chief John Harris plans to attend one of the meetings with Holder.

"As editor-in-chief, I routinely have off-the-record conversations with people who have questions or grievances about our coverage or our newsgathering practices," Harris said in the Politico item. "I feel anyone - whether an official or ordinary reader - should be able to have an unguarded conversation with someone in a position of accountability for a news organization when there is good reason."

Representatives for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post will both attend the meeting.

“I prefer that any meeting be on the record," said Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron. "That said, journalists routinely participate in off-the-record sessions, whether they prefer those conditions or not, and then continue to report on events. I am going to this meeting in order to represent our interests as journalists and to raise our concerns. I'll also listen to what the Attorney General has to say. I trust that our journalists will report on this as vigorously as they would any other subject.”

MORE: DOJ says e-mails, letter prove it notified Fox of subpoenas

A Justice Department official said Wednesday the sessions would be off the record to encourage a full exchange of ideas.

President Barack Obama directed the attorney general to review guidelines for investigations involving leaks to the media and said Holder would be meeting with journalists to get their views.

This comes in the wake of disclosures that the government obtained AP phone records after the news organization reported classified details of a thwarted 2012 plot in Yemen to try to blow up a plane with a bomb. The government also obtained e-mails and phone records for a Fox journalist who allegedly received a classified report on North Korea from a former State Department contractor.

A Justice Department official said Holder would hold his first meetings with the media on Thursday and Friday.

Kerry must answer Benghazi questions, House GOP says

The official said the attorney general has a "longstanding belief that protecting and defending the First Amendment is essential to our democracy."

The official said the sessions would include print, television, radio, wire services and online media.

–Jesse Solomon, Jim Acosta and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

MORE: 5 things about the controversy surrounding AG Eric Holder


Filed under: Eric Holder • Justice Department
soundoff (684 Responses)
  1. Barry bin Inhalin

    Holder is officially toast. It only remains a matter of time, and how much (more) political capital Barry is willing to lose defend his old political ally. When the AP & NYT refuse Holder's attempt to assuage (an off the record presser! LOL), the storm clouds have spoken. Someone must pay for the AP & James Rosen affair – and there will be more DoJ fallout.

    May 30, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  2. John (magnum)

    Let Freedom Ring

    The most corruption we have ever seen,
    Is coming from “The Messiah” Obama regime.
    Pathological liars one and all,
    King Obama trying to stall.

    Obama’s corrupt as one can be,
    From the IRS, Benghazi and AP.
    Fast and Furious was number one,
    And lives were lost under this bum..

    Teflon he’s not and he will see,
    Impeachment is an option in the land of the free.
    King is what he is trying to be.
    Wanting complete control over you and me.

    Obama and Holder belong in jail,
    With Napolitano and Sebelius using a sliding scale.
    Crimes against America so they must pay,
    We must fight hard each and every day.

    They want our guns and freedom too,
    So they can do what they wish to do.
    Make us slaves in the land of the free,
    LET FREEDOM RING this very day.

    This old man went to Vietnam,
    The oath I took does still stand!!
    MOLON LABE is the battle cry,
    I will live free or I will die!!

    John D USN RVN 71, 72, 73, evac 75
    5/19/2013

    May 30, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  3. brianosburn

    Holder is not the first
    To lie, conceal and coerce
    Still, he is the best
    Above all the rest
    And that makes this AG the worst!

    May 30, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Is MSNBC running the meeting for Eric Holder then? Will NBC News provide the Food & Drinks?

    May 30, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  5. aLgOrithm

    Score another one for the "transparent" presidency. More smoke and mirrors, more diversions to avoid true prosecution needed for this clown's role in fast and furious and perjuring himself during IRS testimony. And of course let's continue to push Bengazi under the rug. They watched people die.....
    absolutely disgusting.

    May 30, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  6. gobnait

    Nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by the Obama administration to control the narrative and make nice. Hope the press is finally wising up to Obama's deceit.

    May 30, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  7. Tom Benecke

    Is MSNBC running the meeting for Eric Holder then? Will NBC News provide the Food & Drinks?

    May 30, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  8. Yeah Right

    Transparency – Holder style

    May 30, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Wow! is all I can say...I hope the media has finally woken up and realized this is not a third world country we live in. There's a good reason why our forefathers fought a "revolutionary" war and wrote a "constitution"....Hitler got away with stuff like that...private and "off the record" meetings. Thank God some still remember a bit of history and are not ready to repeat the past.

    May 30, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  10. BobCinGA

    OTR meeting? Sounds extremely transparent to me!

    May 30, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  11. jim

    Like an abused lover, the press is timidly standing up for itself this one time. But don't worry, AP and NYT, you'll be back for more betrayals later. You just can't help yourselves–you love the guy.

    May 30, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  12. kimdi01

    Why would news reporting agencies want to attend a meeting to receive more lies from the administration?

    May 30, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  13. David Paul Ackerman

    The people of the United States deserve better than this man. What ever your political leanings you should be able to expect honesty and integrity from the top cop in the country .

    May 30, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  14. Buffmuffin

    They have been receiving instructions on exactly what not and what to report for the entirety of this administration...

    Suddenly having pangs of conscience because THEY were the ones targeted for a change?

    Shallow Pravda, real shallow.

    May 30, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  15. Geoff Campbell

    Whatever needs to be spoken about by this snake should be on the record,schmuck.

    May 30, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  16. Spanky T Smackme

    Holder and Obama (Soerto?) both need to charged as accessories to murder for the fast and furious as well as accessories to acts of terrorism for Bengazii.....Everyone in the WH needs to be charged with obstruction of justice as well as treason for hiding the fact that Obama (Soerto ?) is NOT a us citizen...You dissagree ? PROVE once and for all with real documents that he is a citizen on the United States. Answer first the BC question, then answer the adotion question then answer the passport question when he traveld to Indonesia, and finally answer the education funding question.
    Then and only then can he claim he is the lawfull president. If he cannot or will not, then he and all who support him need to be charged with sedition and treason.

    May 30, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  17. JohnJuan

    SOME of the MSM is finally waking up! Politico is just a liberal mouthpiece. No surprise that they are attending. And all of this from the "most transparent administration"! Puulleeease! Give me a break. Many of us were born at night, but not last night. The House needs to convene a Select Committee NOW!

    May 30, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  18. Jim in Summerfield, FL

    Most transparent administration in history? ... try most manipulative and power hungry administration in history.

    May 30, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  19. David Forman

    Is today opposite day?

    May 30, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  20. Pancake3

    Holder is turning ino a significant embarrassment–to the Amerifcan people, to Washington in general, and to his boss in particular The tone of government is set by the head of government in Washington. Wonder who that might be?

    May 30, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  21. hmichaelh

    I have to say I'm impressed with this decision by most of the Press. Perhaps there is a chance to return to reporting that is not based on bias and political consideration.....with the exception of Politico. I see no comment from Fox about their plans to attend/not attend! It would be ironic if only Fox (and Politico, of course) attended........but, WAIT!!!!! I forgot. Fox hasn't been invited, have they? Oh, well, Politico can enjoy the space they will have in the "Off the Record" meeting. Politico meeting with Holder is the very same thing as Holder meeting with Holder.

    May 30, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  22. AdrienneM

    HOW can Holder possibly expect the news media to NOT BE ALLOWED to report what they learn in this "meeting"? This is EXACTLY the same as Lois Lerner Making a statement proclaiming her innocence, and then TAKING THE 5TH. They both want to have it their way on a one-way street.

    May 30, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  23. Dennis Beil

    Off the record in this case means, help me with the cover up.

    May 30, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  24. Mark

    Well, looks like the Obama apologists are starting to realize they have been played for a bunch of chumps by a group of con men who lied their way into Washington, D.C. twice with the help of the media. Seems politico is still apologizing for the administration. Looks like the rest of the media may be trying to get on the right side of this before this Nixonian administration finally goes down in flames.

    May 30, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  25. ilovevictoriasbows

    Holder is now begging Fox News to show up.

    May 30, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
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