WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — A House Republican committee report concludes that Attorney General Eric Holder gave “deceptive and misleading” testimony in May when he told Congress he had never been involved in or made aware of the potential prosecution of members of the press.
The 70-page report, released late Wednesday by Republicans, says it is difficult to square Holder’s testimony with his approval of a search warrant application in 2010 calling a Fox News journalist a probable co-conspirator in a leak investigation.
In his testimony in May, the attorney general said that with regard to a potential prosecution of the news media, that is not something he had ever been involved in or made aware of.
“With regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I have ever been involved, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy,” Holder said in his testimony.
The report concluded that Holder misled members of Congress and the American people with his testimony.
“We believe that Mr. Holder’s simple and direct statement had the intended effect — to leave the members of the Committee with the impression that not only had the potential prosecution of a reporter never been contemplated during Mr. Holder’s tenure, but that nothing comparable to the Rosen search warrant had ever been executed by this administration,” the report states. “On the basis of Mr. Holder’s testimony, there was little doubt in the Members’ minds that the legal machinery for such an undertaking had never been started.”
Lawmakers also sent President Barack Obama a letter calling for a “change in leadership” at the DOJ.
In a defense of Holder, the Justice Department says that at no time before or after seeking the search warrant have prosecutors sought approval to bring charges against the reporter.
“The report was produced on a purely partisan basis,” said Justice spokesman Brian Fallon. “Its purported findings are contrary to the record and strongly disputed by many of the committee’s own members.”
However, the report discredits the official DOJ explanation due to the fact that the department labeled James Rosen a criminal suspect in 2010.
“We take little comfort in Mr. Holder’s assurances to us now that the Department never intended to prosecute Mr. Rosen when it labeled him a criminal suspect in 2010,” the report adds. “Tarnishing a journalist as a suspect in a national security investigation is not something that should be taken lightly. Espionage is a serious federal crime, punishable by up to a decade in prison. In essence, the Justice Department dangled Mr. Rosen over a cliff. But the American people were then assured by Mr. Holder that this was appropriate because there was never a potential of him falling to his doom.”
The Justice Department claims it has put “additional safeguards” in place to protect journalists and is calling on Congress to pass “bipartisan media shield legislation.”