DOJ to create News Media Review Committee to advise when DOJ investigating unauthorized disclosures involving reporters.—
Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 12, 2013
With nearly all eyes trained on the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Fla., late Friday afternoon, the Obama administration found a good opportunity to announce the results of Attorney General Eric Holder’s exhaustive investigation into … Eric Holder. President Obama had directed Holder to look into the Justice Department’s investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen, which included the DOJ secretly gaining access to Rosen’s personal email account and tracking not only his phone records but those of his parents.
The DOJ was able to read Rosen’s emails by naming him a co-conspirator under the Espionage Act. Holder himself vetted and signed the warrant, so it was unlikely the report would hold Holder’s feet to the fire. Instead, the DOJ has decided to create a News Media Review Committee to handle future cases like Rosen’s and spread the responsibility around.
The Justice Department prefaced its report with a statement from Holder himself passing the buck to the Congress, urging the passage of media shield legislation.
The Department of Justice is firmly committed to ensuring our nation’s security, and protecting the American people, while at the same time safeguarding the freedom of the press. These revised guidelines will help ensure the proper balance is struck when pursuing investigations into unauthorized disclosures. While these reforms will make a meaningful difference, there are additional protections that only Congress can provide. For that reason, we continue to support the passage of media shield legislation.
New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza was among those watching the Rosen case closely and provided his own take on the report’s conclusions.
Apparently, then, Holder and other Justice Department officials will continue meeting with invited members of the press “to continue dialogue” begun in the process. We thought that was the purpose of those daily White House briefings, but Holder seems to prefer those “off-the-record” meetings where the president sometimes drops by unannounced to say hi. The idea of yet another government committee to keep the government in line isn’t doing much to reassure the public, though.