Civil Liberties

Justice Department Insists Holder Didn't Lie About Press Investigation

He said he didn't know about prosecuting journalists, not spying on them


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder didn't lie to Congress about a leak probe because probing a reporter isn't prosecuting one, a Justice Department deputy said.

"At the outset, it is important to note the difference between an investigation and a prosecution," Peter Kadzik, principal deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, said in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

An investigation of potential criminal activity "typically comes before any final decision about prosecution" and can be conducted with a lower burden of proof, the letter said.

It referred to Holder's approval of a search-warrant request for Fox News reporter James Rosen's private correspondence after he reported in June 2009 about a North Korean nuclear test that had not been made public.