House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin wrote a letter to Holder on Wednesday.
In a press release, the lawmakers alleged that there is a “discrepancy between his sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month and the Department of Justice’s decision to obtain a search warrant.”
In his May 15 sworn testimony, Holder said, “With regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I have ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy.”
“In the days following your sworn testimony, media reports circulated revealing that in May, 2010, the Justice Department had sought and obtained a search warrant for emails belonging to Mr. James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for FOX News. The search warrant was issued in the investigation of the publication of an article by Mr. Rosen in June, 2009, that allegedly contained classified material,” the letter says.
“The New Yorker magazine obtained a copy of the forty-four page search warrant affidavit, which alleged that the source of the material was Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a Lawrence Liverpool National Laboratory employee detailed to the State Department. In the affidavit in support of the search warrant, FBI Agent Reginald B. Reyes, stated, ‘…there is probable cause to believe that the Reporter [Rosen] has committed a violation” of 18 USC §793(d) [the Espionage Act] ‘at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator of Mr. Kim.’”
The letter requests that DOJ “provide all regulations and internal Justice Department policies that govern the issuance of search warrants for the email communications of members of the media” no later than June 5.
The lawmakers ask Holder in the letter, “If you believe, as you testified, that prosecutions of members of the media ‘have not fared well in American history,’ why did you permit the Department to investigate Mr. Rosen as a co-conspirator or aider/abettor?”
Holder will reportedly meet Washington bureau chiefs from several major news outlets this week to review DOJ’s guidelines for investigating journalists.
Members of Congress on both sides of the political spectrum have expressed concern with DOJ over the AP and Fox News controversies.
In addition, former Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said he is “disturbed” by the scandal.
“I do think there are real issues regarding the relationship with the media on this leak matter,” Axelrod said Tuesday on MSNBC. “The notion of naming a journalist as a co-conspirator for receiving information is something that I find very disturbing.”