The Associated Press is the latest major news outlet to inform President Obama’s Department of Justice that they will not be participating in an off-the-record briefing on how Eric Holder’s team deals with journalists who work with leakers.
The announcement came about an hour after the New York Times declined participation as well.
“We believe the meeting should be on the record and we have said that to the Attorney General’s office. If it is on the record, AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll will attend. If it is not on the record, AP will not attend and instead will offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter,” AP spokesperson Erin Madigan said in a statement sent to POLITICO. “We would expect AP attorneys to be included in any planned meetings between the Attorney General’s office and media lawyers on the legal specifics.”
The Associated Press is at the center of an investigation conducted by the DOJ over alleged leaks involving a thwarted al Qaeda terror attack. Attorney General Eric Holder recused himself from the AP investigation which involves wide-ranging secret searches of the AP phone records for phones on capitol hill utilized by over 100 different reporters. The controversial phone record search was conducted secretly without the Associated Press’ knowledge.
Holder himself signed off on affidavits resulting in similar sweeping searches of Fox news reporter James Rosen and phone records for multiple numbers associated with a wide array of offices at Fox news as well as corporate and personal email accounts with many employees and family members who were in contact with Rosen.