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Did the Attorney General Commit Perjury?

Two weeks ago, in testifying under oath before the House Judiciary Committee, the Attorney General was asked whether the Justice Department could prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917.  His response was (emphasis added):

In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material -- this is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.

At the time he was speaking, the Attorney General had personally signed a request to a court to authorize a wiretap on Fox News reporter James Rosen.  The request stated that  Rosen may have acted as "an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator" by obtaining national security materials from a government official also under investigation.

When I was a federal prosecutor, telling the court that a wiretap target might have been an aider, abettor or co-conspirator in an extremely serious federal crime was most assuredly vouching that there was a potential prosecution of that target.  That the target was a member of the press makes it all the more noteworthy that the Attorney General would have signed the request.  It also make is all but impossible to believe that he merely forgot about it.

The story is found in the Hill, and, without going into any of the numerous other aspects of this case, I think Eric Holder is in big trouble.


Bill, you'd know better than I, but doesn't it behoove Congress to give Holder the opportunity to clarify? Isn't that usually how it works? Could Issa haul him in front of the committee and ask him directly if that statement is true?

How would all this work, as a practical matter.

I think the burden is on the witness sua sponte to correct inaccurate testimony, not on the committee to recall him to give him the "chance" to do so. He already HAS the chance -- type a letter setting things straight.

Yes, Issa could call him back and ask him directly. What I think is more likely is that the AG will in fact write a letter. I believe that's what he did to "clarify" his "misleading" testimony about Fast and Furious, although I'm not recalling that exactly.

I increasingly think Holder is damaged goods at this point and will be out within weeks. This is both good and bad news. It's good because his departure will widely and correctly be seen as forced by his problems with truthfulness. It's bad because there's a serious chance his successor will be even worse: Kerry is worse than Clinton, Hagel is worse than Panetta, and Lew is worse than Geithner. Do we see a pattern here?

Maybe Holder's replacement will be former federal judge and current Rep. Alcee Hastings.

OK, that's a joke. I hope.

For the sake of consistency, and because 'Marc Rich' Holder would want this position reserved "for my people," I hereby "recommend":
Kwame Kilpatrick,
Minister King Samir Shabazz,
J. Jackson Jr.,
Chawn Kweli,
William J. Jefferson,
Sheila Jackson Lee,
Wade McCree,
John or Monica Conyers
, or
Cynthia McKinney.

No, Hank Johnson would be most apropos.

—AG Holder before House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Judiciary, 3/1/11

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