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Holder: ‘I’ll protect journalists’

21st Century Wire says…

There’s a man you can trust when it comes to keeping everything legal and above board in America…

By Sari Horwitz
Washington Post

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged Thursday to take concrete steps to address concerns that the Justice Department has overreached in its leak investigations and said officials would seek procedural and possibly legislative changes to protect journalists’ First Amendment rights.

Holder’s commitment came at a private meeting with news executives after criticism that the Justice Department had infringed on the news media in several high-profile leak investigations. Participants said he told them officials would revise guidelines for issuing subpoenas to obtain reporters’ phone records.

The 90-minute meeting was attended by a small group of journalists after several news organizations objected to the Justice Department’s insistence that it be held off the record. The participants, however, reached an agreement with the Justice Department under which they could describe what occurred during the meeting in general terms. The Justice Department is expected to meet with other news organizations and media lawyers in coming days.

Holder and aides “completely endorsed the president’s statement that reporters should not be at legal risk for doing their job,” said Martin Baron, The Washington Post’s executive editor, who was among the participants. “They acknowledged the need for changes in their own guidelines and the need to have a more rigorous internal review.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Obama administration has sought to respond to the backlash over a pair of newly disclosed leak investigations by reasserting its commitment to a free press. The administration has called on Congress to pass a “media shield” law to guard against some legal attempts to force journalists to divulge confidential sources. Last week, President Obama said he had asked Holder to review the Justice Department’s guidelines for leak investigations and report back to him by mid-July…

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