While most of the nation was focused on the conclusion of the George Zimmerman trial, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holdermet with President Obama on Friday to report on the outcome of his investigation of Eric Holder.
Obama said in May that Holder would launch the review amid criticism of the Justice Department’s seizure of records belonging to The Associated Press and Fox News, as well as the labeling of Fox News reporter James Rosen as a criminal “co-conspirator,” a ruse used to seize his personal emails, according to The Hill.
Holder signed the warrant that named Rosen a co-conspirator, giving agents access to his personal email account and allowing them to track not only his phone records but his parents’, too.
The White House said Obama “accepted” the report, which is expected to contain new guidelines limiting the circumstances under which the Justice Department could obtain journalists’ records.
Holder released a statement later in the day that included the formation of a “Ministry of Truth,” as described by Twitchy.com. The statement said, in part:
If a determination is made by the attorney general to delay notification for an initial 45-day period, only the attorney general may authorize a delay of notification for up to an additional 45 days, and even then, only if the attorney general again determines, after an additional review by the News Media Review Committee, that, for compelling reasons, notice would post a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, grave harm to national security, or imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm.
The gist is that government can subpoena reporters’ records but delay informing the media that it has done so for 45 days, but only in the “most exceptional cases,” the Washington Examiner reported.
The News Media Review Committee will comprise “senior Department officials… who are neither directly involved nor play a supervisory role in the investigations involved, [and who] are engaged in the consideration of the use of investigative tools that involve members of the news media,” according to the Examiner.
“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,” Holder said in the statement.