Eric Holder Says He Regrets Lying To A Judge And Saying A Reporter Was A 'Co-Conspirator' But The Law Made Him Do It

from the uh,-no-it-didn't dept

Giving a talk at the Washington Ideas Forum, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about two different (though, similarly named) journalists that the DOJ has been absolutely egregious in trying to abuse for the sake of questionable leak investigations. Regarding James Risen, the NY Times reporter who the DOJ has been pursuing and demanding he reveal sources concerning a leak (when it’s clear the DOJ already knows the source and is just doing this to destroy Risen’s credibility with sources), Holder says that the DOJ expects “a resolution” in the near future. That’s not too surprising. Holder and the DOJ seem to realize that actually putting Risen in jail (the next step in the process) probably wouldn’t go over very well.

But it’s the other journalist where things get a bit dicier. That’s Fox News reporter James Rosen (note the different letter from Risen). Rosen, you may recall, had his phone, email and security badge records grabbed by the government, after the DOJ told a court that Rosen wasn’t a reporter, but “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the “crime” of leaking classified information about North Korea from the State Department. It later came out that the DOJ actually pretended Rosen was involved in a bombing in its motions to the court.

Holder was asked if there was a decision during his tenure that he regretted, and he brought up the Rosen story:

Holder: I think that — I think about the subpoena to the Fox reporter, Rosen. I think that I could have been a little more careful in looking at the language that was contained in the filing that we made with the court. He was labeled as a — as a co-conspirator. I mean, you had to do that as a result of the statute, but there are ways in which I think that could have been done differently, done better. And that’s one of the reasons why I thought the criticism that we received because of that — and the AP matter as well — was something that we had to act upon and why we put in place this review of our — the way in which we interact with the media.

Except, as Julian Sanchez points out, that’s completely bogus. Holder claiming they had to do that because of the statute is flat out opposites-ville. They had to do that because the statute doesn’t allow them to spy on journalists. The law was designed to stop the DOJ from spying on journalists, and so the only way to break that was to lie to the court. The law in question — 18 USC 793 is designed to only apply to the people actually committing the crime of leaking defense information — and not to reporters.

Holder claiming that the statute effectively “forced” him into declaring Rosen a co-conspirator is ridiculous. The statute compels him not to seize Rosen’s records. Holder is admitting that the DOJ lied to the court here and trying to blame the statute for that lie. That’s astounding.

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Comments on “Eric Holder Says He Regrets Lying To A Judge And Saying A Reporter Was A 'Co-Conspirator' But The Law Made Him Do It”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Really?

Yes, it’s sad. In the DOJ’s twisted world, Holder is 100% accurate.

The reporter was bad because he did something that the DOJ didn’t like. The law was written to protect the reporter (bad law), so Holder had to declare Rosen a co-conspirator so he could go after him, which was the right thing, because Holder said so.

TasMot (profile) says:

However; Holder's only subject to the high court

So, he will never, ever face any repercussions of lying to the court. Only low court people would have to face repercussions of lying to the court. Holder and his DOJ cronies will retire rich and privileged and life will go on as this is quickly swept under the rug and forgotten. For the rest of us underprivileged sort, lying to the court would result in a trial and fine and/or jail time, just not for the head of the Department of Justice, he’s allowed to lie to the court and get away with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Uh, Mike, you need to remember there’s a difference between things that aren’t true and things you wish weren’t true. You and I may not like it that DOJ labeled Rosen a coconspirator in a warrant application, but that doesn’t mean it’s a “lie.” Sec 793 is broadly worded. It can be read to cover Rosen too. Obviously you don’t think it should be. I don’t think it shows be. Hell, I doubt even Holder thinks it should be. But that doesn’t make the coconspirator claim a “lie.”

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It can be read to cover Rosen too.

No, it really cannot be by any sane reading of it. While I’m not a lawyer, it clearly is not written to be applied to news reporting.

And even if in some twisted version you see it that way, the DOJ still lied about him being involved in a bombing plot.

There is no law or statute that requires the DOJ or a prosecutor to label someone a co-conspirator or to make shit up that is clearly not true on a warrant.

The DOJ clearly lied, and Holder signed off on it. But there is no accountability, so nothing is going to be done and clear acts of perjury will just be let by.

Anonymous Coward says:

I also find it “astounding” — not what Holder did (as most all prosecutors knowingly exaggerate charges) but the fact that he actually admitted it.

Surprisingly, it seems like Holder just might have a smidgen of conscience in his soul. Most bureaucrats follow the “I regret nothing (and if I had to do it all over again, I would)” mantra, no matter how colossal their mistakes or misconduct might be.

Dick Cheney comes to mind as someone who failed miserably yet will insist until the day he dies that he did everything right. I don’t fault Holder for being honest, I applaud him for it. Hopefully he will admit more prosecutorial shenanigans, perhaps even something we don’t already know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Admissions of wrongdoing should always be welcome. Otherwise, government officials are just encouraged to continue lying and denying.

One person who worked under Eric Holder, SEC prosecutor James Kidney, even admitted as he walked out the door that the entire federal “investigation” of Wall St. bank fraud was a total farce. Which of course everyone already knew, but it’s always nice to hear it from someone near the top.

Securities and Exchange Commission prosecuting attorney, James Kidney, said at his recent retirement party on March 27th, that his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other mega-banks had been squelched by top people at the agency, because they “were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing difficult cases.” He suggested that SEC officials knew that Wall Street would likely hire them after the SEC at much bigger pay than their government remuneration was, so long as the SEC wouldn’t prosecute those megabank executives on any criminal charges for helping to cause the mortgage-backed securities scams and resulting 2008 economic crash.

Eric Holder has been unremarkable silent on these charges of inbred corruption.

DigDug says:

Holder lies to explain why he lied to the court..

Is it considered circular perjury when one lies to explain why one lied to the judges and the court, as well as falsified court documents.

It’s still perjury, which is a crime, and he needs to spend time in prison for it.

It’s also illegal to falsify court documents with known false information.

Now he’s publicly lying as to why he perjured himself and falsified court documents.

Holder needs to spend about 10 to 50 years in prison, preferably a maximum security one due to his actions being of the worst criminal variety. I’d consider his actions on the same level as mass murder.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is precisely why the citizens of this country no longer trust their officials.

There’s no accountability for wrong doing and those in charge think there is nothing wrong with bending the law to allow them to do what ever it is they have in mind. This extends to redefining what words mean to all it to break the law as it stands.

This is the same behavior demonstrated by criminals.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yet another senior official in the US government caught flat-out lying to the court and the American public. Shocking!

Even more shocking is nobody is being charged with making false statements, perjury, or obstruction of justice over falsified and fabricated charges. Especially the fabricated charge that Risen was involved in a bombing.

I don’t have much faith or respect left for America’s corrupt justice system. We’re officially in kangaroo court territory now.

ArkieGuy (profile) says:

An alternate reading of the quote...

When Holder said Rosen “was labeled as a co-conspirator. I mean, you had to do that as a result of the statute”, what he could have meant was “for us to prosecute the reporter under this statute, we had to name his as a co-conspirator because we couldn’t charge him any other way (and we were bloody well going to charge him).”

His remorse was that he couldn’t go after him directly. 😉

David says:

Re: Interesting choice of words

I’m confused. How can you falsely accuse a reporter of involvement in a bombing plot “better”? Fabricate evidence? Bribe the judge? Not get caught?

Be less obviously a crook. It’s like a policeman priding himself not to use excessive force when killing innocents in order to cover his department’s ass. Just enough to do the trick.

GEMont (profile) says:

Deception is the name of the game

“The statute compels him not to seize Rosen’s records. Holder is admitting that the DOJ lied to the court here and trying to blame the statute for that lie. That’s astounding.”

How is that astounding?

Does anyone here remember the last time anyone from the DOJ, or any of the federal law enforcement or spy agencies opened their mouth and something true fell out?


The Department of Just Ice and all of the Federal La La La enforcement agencies LIE whenever they are forced to deal with the public in any way whatsoever.

If it were up to the Feds, the public would be forbidden from questioning any of its actions and would receive only the Hollywood version of reality in any news report it approved.

They all LIE because they DO NOT want the public to learn what they are really doing with all of that free taxpayer and confiscation derived money they spend every year.

They don’t want the public to learn what they are doing because what they are doing is both illegal/criminal in a real democracy and immoral anywhere outside a fascist dictatorship.

What they are doing is setting up the infrastructure of the very evils they are claiming to fight, so that there will be some actual evidence of their activity in the daily news.

In exactly the same way that it has created ISIS/ISIL to give the NSA that much needed new lease on life and its excuse for the new budget funding, all other branches of the federal government are creating their own “evil forces”, using your money, so they have something to point at when asked where all the money went.

This is being done because of the huge success of the Drug War and its half century plus and counting, of public support and funding that has funnelled hundreds of billions of dollars out of the taxpayer’s pocket and into the Federal hole in the ocean since its creation, with absolutely zero positive results to show for all that cash and time.

What the public has learned so far from the miniscule leaks that have escaped the system, is not even the barest tip of this iceberg, and the Federal Gangsters want to keep that iceberg hidden for as long as possible.

After all, most of the branches of the Civilian-based Public Policing Army are not yet fully armored up and are still basically under-trained in National Crown Control.

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