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AG: Won't prosecute reporters for doing their jobs

By Pete Yost

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:05 p.m. HST, Jun 06, 2013

WASHINGTON » Attorney General Eric Holder denied today that the Obama administration is killing suspected terrorists with drone strikes to avoid capturing them and sending them to the Guantanamo prison it wants to close.

Appearing before a Senate panel, Holder also generally declined comment about a long-running National Security Agency program to collect phone record of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon as part of an anti-terrorist effort, and affirmed he will not prosecute journalists for doing their jobs.

Beset by controversy, Holder turned aside talk that he might resign. He drew a quick vote of confidence from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who said she hoped other lawmakers wouldn't use his appearance as a chance to berate him.

On drone strikes, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told Holder she had seen no "preference for a capture" of suspected terrorists overseas since President Barack Obama took office. She asked if that was because the administration wants to avoid adding to the population at the prison constructed more than a decade ago on a U.S. military base on Cuba.

"It is not a function of not trying to take people to Guantanamo," Holder replied. He mentioned two suspected terrorists who have been captured since Obama took office, and said, "the desire to capture is something that we take seriously because we gain intelligence."

The president took office seeking to close the Guantanamo facility, and generally wants to try suspected terrorists in civilian courts. Congress initially prevented him from shuttering the prison, but Obama has recently announced he intends to renew his attempt.

Holder told lawmakers he was willing to discuss the NSA program in a classified hearing, but was limited in what he could say in public.

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., asked for assurances that there had been no monitoring of members of Congress or the Supreme Court as part of the program.

Holder said there was "no intention to do anything of that nature, that is to spy on members of Congress or spy on the members of the Supreme Court." Congress and the courts are parts of independent branches of government under the U.S. Constitution.

One Republican on the panel, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, defended the NSA program, which he said is designed to uncover links between suspected terrorist groups and possible allies inside the United States. He said he is a Verizon customer, and would not be concerned if records of calls to his phone number had been part of NSA sweep.

The attorney general is under orders from President Barack Obama to review department guidelines on investigations involving leaks, and he said the goal of such probes is to prosecute government officials who jeopardize national security by violating their oaths.

"The department has not prosecuted, and as long as I'm attorney general, will not prosecute any reporter for doing his or her job," he said.

Holder's remarks were directed at the recent disclosures that the government had secretly obtained logs of some Associated Press phone calls and had obtained a search warrant to gather emails of Fox News journalist James Rosen.


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loquaciousone wrote:
This guy seems to have more skeletons than a graveyard.
on June 6,2013 | 06:50AM
TMJ wrote:
on June 6,2013 | 06:54AM
serious wrote:
Where did this guy come from? Like Obama, the press goes easy on him or someone will call the race card!!
on June 6,2013 | 07:10AM
2Lolo wrote:
You will notice Obama pressing the race card in the up coming days/weeks. Eric Holder is a pawn, the poor sap is a dutiful soldier and he will be disposed after he serves his purpose. What the 4th Reich would love is race violence triggered, escalated, troops sent to 'restore' order and heavy loss of life. Remain calm everyone, do not react. Doing so aligns with their agenda. Yes, the 'they' can be called the Fourth Reich and we have their blessing to see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adE3SE6Sa-k
on June 6,2013 | 07:45AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Holder is a transparent (to use Obama's favorite word) liar. Fox News's James Rosen was named in the subpoena as a criminal conspirator and potential flight risk. HOLDER SIGNED THIS SUBPOENA.
on June 6,2013 | 07:42AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Clayton Hee needs to learn from this guy.
on June 6,2013 | 08:01AM
Hilofrank wrote:
These Democrats-Liberal-Progressives are so funny! Holder won't "prosecute" a reporter, if he or she works for the WashPo, HuffPo, Mother Jones, NBC, et ilk, but try being from a conservative oriented new organization. Then you have a target on your back. And he signed the warrant accusing the Fox News Reporter of criminal activity including being a co-conspirator. But hey, being a liberal, means telling people anything, and assuming they will believe you...or else. You libs need to sit up and take notice because if you give this guy a pass, just because he's on your team, when the team changes over, you better be willing to give them a pass too. For me, it's wrong all the way around and it doesn't matter what the political perspective is. It's unconstitutional and this guy doesn't understand it, he needs to go.
on June 6,2013 | 08:17AM
Pacej001 wrote:
You got it exactly right. When will these people step back and evaluate what's going on? At this point, it's like trying to convince someone they're wearing two left shoes when that person refuses to look at their feet.
on June 6,2013 | 10:42AM
false wrote:
All these "new" scandals are just a diversionary tactic away from the Bengazi incident. Ambassador Stevens was knowingly sacrificed because he was going to tell the world of Obama's massive gunrunning operation to the Al Queda rebels.
on June 6,2013 | 10:57AM
2Lolo wrote:
I don't think the IRS scandal is that much the lesser a scandal, as the AP investigation, Fast and Furious, Black Panthers... Actually, I heard it was Hillary who erred on the Benghazi, chosing the Secretary of State route to channel weapons on the cheap to Al Qaeda instead of the standard accepted CIA option. I regress what I said about Holder. He's likely to get a cushy prestigious position after he leaves the AT office. Whatever will more greatly insult the average American with a real human mind and heart.
on June 6,2013 | 08:05PM
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