Reuters: Holder reconsiders, allows meeting with media on leak investigations to be "largely for publication"

What does “largely for publication” mean? I’m as eager to know as you are. There are, if you can believe it, zero direct quotes from Holder in this Reuters piece trumpeting the fact that he allegedly caved in his meeting with them today. In fact, the story has almost no useful details about what was said; maybe this is just an early version and they’re busy right now fleshing it out, but at the moment “largely for publication” seems to mean “you can say that we held the meeting.”

Thus did Moses, the lawgiver, descend from the mountain and declare “It’s okay to write about this but don’t quote me, okay?” And the people rejoiced.

A Reuters spokeswoman had said on Thursday that the news agency would not take part in any discussion that was “off the record,” meaning its contents could not be recorded or reported.

Reuters and some news organizations, including The New York Times and CNN, said they would not attend, but representatives of other news organizations met with Holder on Thursday.

Another meeting went ahead on Friday after Holder agreed its contents would be largely for publication, Reuters Chief Operating Officer Stuart Karle told reporters outside Justice Department headquarters. Karle attended with Marilyn Thompson, the Reuters bureau chief in Washington.

He said that department officials showed an interest in making changes to investigative guidelines on access to media records, but he said it was premature to draw conclusions.

So that’s what we’ve learned thus far. They’re interested in tweaking the protocols on leaks, but they’re also not making any promises. I sure hope there’s a part two to this article in the works, Reuters.

Now I’m wondering what WaPo, Politico, and the other handmaidens who decided to attend yesterday’s meeting think about having missed out on today’s “largely for publication” bonanza. Or did they miss out? Via Sean Higgins and Guy Benson, here’s a choice bit from WaPo’s report on Thursday’s confab. What better way to open a story about press freedom than by reminding the reader that you had to reassure the guy who’s investigating you that you wouldn’t report too much of what he said?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged Thursday to take concrete steps to address concerns that the Justice Department has overreached in its leak investigations and said officials would seek procedural and possibly legislative changes to protect journalists’ First Amendment rights…

The 90-minute meeting was attended by a small group of journalists after several news organizations objected to the Justice Department’s insistence that it be held off the record. The participants, however, reached an agreement with the Justice Department under which they could describe what occurred during the meeting in general terms

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Is “in general terms” equivalent to “largely for publication” or has Holder devised some finely tuned new hierarchy of reporting protocols for his pronouncements on prosecuting journalists? I’m looking forward to ABC’s account of the meeting later today noting that they were granted permission to describe what was said “more or less.”