Justice Department slams down GOP claims, defends Eric Holder

Updated
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the...
Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the...
Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Justice Department has formally rejected Republican accusations that Attorney General Eric Holder committed perjury in his testimony last month about DOJ’s investigation into national security leaks to the press.

Holder had testified that the department did not seek to prosecute journalists over national security leaks at a hearing last month. A few days after his testimony, the Justice Department revealed that Holder had signed off on a search warrant for a Fox News reporter’s emails.

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Peter Kadzik, a senior department official said there is a critical distinction between investigating a reporter and prosecuting one. “Seeking a search warrant is part of an investigation of potential criminal activity, which typically comes before any final decision about prosecution,” he said.

The three-page letter said that prosecutors had never sought approval to bring charges against James Rosen, the reporter who was named in the search warrant. Kadzik also defended Holder’s testimony calling it “accurate and consistent with the facts.”

Stephen Kim, a former security adviser at the State Department, was charged with leaking classified material to Rosen, but the reporter does not face prosecution, Hadzik said. Kim has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz, have called for Holder’s resignation over the controversy. Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, did not charge Holder of perjury, but described his testimony as misleading on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

“It would be kind to say he misled Congress,” Issa said. “It would be less kind and more accurate to say that would rise to be a lie by most people’s standards.”

Justice Department slams down GOP claims, defends Eric Holder

Updated