Civil Liberties

Holder at Center of Concerns Over Government Snooping on AP

Architect of the growing security state?


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was likely to face a storm of questions on Tuesday over the Justice Department's controversial decision to seize telephone records of the Associated Press, a move denounced by critics as a gross intrusion into freedom of the press.

The episode has created an uproar in Washington and led to questions over how the Obama administration is balancing the need for national security with privacy rights.

Holder, a frequent target of conservatives, was scheduled to appear at 1 p.m. (1700 GMT) with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss Medicare fraud but he was likely to face questions from reporters about his decision on the AP records.

In a decision made public on Friday, Holder ordered federal agents to secretly seize telephone records of AP offices and reporters for a two-month period last year.