The White House on Friday didn’t respond to a report that Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the seizure a Fox News reporter’s phone and email records — and with no daily press briefing scheduled Friday that could mean silence from the administration through the Memorial Day weekend.
NBC News reported Thursday that Holder approved the search of Fox News reporter James Rosen’s private emails and phone records in a probe of leaked government information. That revelation came just as the president ordered Holder to review Justice Department guidelines for investigating reporters.
White House officials have not yet responded to requests for comment from The Washington Examiner about Holder’s role in the matter. Rosen was labeled a criminal “co-conspirator” by Justice during its investigation.
Essentially, Holder will now lead a review of his very own policies, raising questions about the seriousness of the evaluation.
“It would seem putting Eric Holder in charge of these investigations is like putting a shoplifter in charge [of] inventory,” wrote Trevor Timm, of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Obama asked Holder to report back to him by July 12.
For his part, the president insists he is concerned about the targeting of journalists.
“I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable,” Obama said during a speech at the National Defense University. “Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.”
In a separate leak investigation, the Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of Associated Press journalists. Holder claimed to have no role in that decision, saying that he recused himself from the investigation because he was a witness in the original leak case.
However, Holder was unable to provide any written proof that he’d actually recused himself from the inquiry.