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. Dave Marshall

    Riiight and that's why he perjured himself.

    May 30, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. Warren

    Politico EIC Harris said, "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."
    Great! When's my appointment with you for a closed door, off the record meeting?
    I have a few choice words for you.
    The first is sychophant, and the second is traitor to the Constitution.
    Don't look at your watch, I have a whole list of choice words for you.

    May 30, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. august west

    Of course Politico has their nose up Holders backside. The others are just trying not to look that way.

    May 30, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. BluClw

    Hehe. I guess all it took was a little personal injury for the msm to rediscover its ethics. I mean their ethics are still as strong as taffy but hey, progress is progress.

    May 30, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. Gene

    "The most transparent administration ever"... lol, yeah right.

    May 30, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  6. Eastedie

    Clandestine media meetings.....sounds just like the Nazis. Holder cannot be trusted. So what happened to the "this will be the most transparent administration ever"? This regime is as transparent as cow patties and Holder/Obama are in it up to their ears! There isn't enough cow manure in TX to cover these misdeeds.

    And we thought the McCarthy era of the 1950's was horrific.

    Am glad the media is finally pushing back. Nothing like the AP mess to wake them up.

    May 30, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  7. hunter

    The American people are justified in concluding that any media group that continues to bow down to the OTR method of news management is not a serious journalistic enterprise, but is in reality an Obama lap dog. As we see with EPA, IRS, DoJ abuse after abuse, the Obama team takes things that have worked well traditionally and turns them into tools of political control.

    May 30, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  8. Jekyllisland

    Impossible that there isn't any responses yet

    May 30, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. TLiebling

    Why does the Most Transparent Administration in the History of the Universe want to schedule an off-the-record meeting to discuss media-related issues with the media?

    May 30, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. The Free

    Gestapo-style.

    May 30, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  11. acdcguy

    This must be were the money changes hands.....OTR meegtings,,,,,,

    May 30, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Ex-Oligarch

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

    Absurd. The Attorney General does not need to have an off the record meeting with reporters to learn their views. The news media has been editorializing on this subject since the scandal began. The only reason for the meeting to be off the record is to relieve Mr. Holder of responsibility for his comments while permitting him to influence their reporting.

    May 30, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  13. KCART

    I would hope that no "honest" journalist or editor from any source would attend an "off-the-record" meeting with Holder regarding an issue pertaining to our first ammendment rights, but the biggest question here, given the revelations of the past few days regarding Holder's involvement in this scandal, is why is this man still involved in the investigation of this matter in any way, shape or form??

    May 30, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  14. Fred

    And why "OTR"? Who's he hiding from, and what's he hiding?
    Aren't we getting tired of this manipulative administration?

    May 30, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  15. jvjjj1244

    Apparently Mr. Holder had forgotten that this is now the national stage, and not the Chicago politics environment that he is so used to.

    May 30, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  16. No1uKnow

    When you walk like a duck; when you report like State-run media, and you run cover like State-run media, you might be treated like State-run media....duh.

    May 30, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  17. SirGareth

    Poor Eric, he didn't even ask to sign Fox News dance card after screwing them, and now even his ho's in the MSM are keeping their legs crossed tightly for him.

    May 30, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  18. Eagle0543

    Most ethical and transparent administration in history. Yep, that's what Obama told us! He also said something about competency. Has the left used the truth as a " teaching moment?

    May 30, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  19. John Rambo

    This man is one of the biggest criminals to ever sit in an administration. Ever.
    A stain on his party. For shame.

    May 30, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. judithod

    The meeting will be off the record to encourage the "full exchange of ideas"? Huh? What ideas does Holder want to hear from the press. Holder only wants to convince the press that his lies are "truth."

    May 30, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. James Neeley

    It never ceases to amaze how the most transparant administration never wants anybody to know anything about everything.

    May 30, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  22. Ben

    Michelle Backmann was right We have a GANGSTER GOVERNMENT

    May 30, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. bubbalew

    I bet Al Jazera will go.

    May 30, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  24. TheDude

    Politico has no shame, they'll do anything to help this administration. It's obvious from their reporting on Benghazi, FnF, IRS, and AP leaks. No shock there.

    May 30, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  25. Ballan

    Looks like the puppets are revolting against the marionettes!

    May 30, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28