Gosh, after yesterday’s appetite-whettening Daily Beast treacle, I know I am.
Evidently Holder’s concluded his investigation into the DOJ’s leak-busting practices and discovered that Eric Holder’s pretty torn up about it.
The Justice Department began contacting D.C. bureau chiefs of major print and broadcast news organizations yesterday to set up a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss changes to the department’s guidelines for subpoenas to news organizations. A source close to Holder said that in retrospect, he regrets the breadth and wording of the investigation involving Fox’s James Rosen (which Holder approved), and recognizes that the subpoena for AP records (Holder had recused himself from that case) took in more phone lines than necessary.
“The A.G. realizes that things might have gotten a little out of balance, and he wants to make changes to be sure the rules fully account for the balance between the First Amendment and law enforcement,” the source said. The first media meeting will be held at main Justice, likely later this week. A later meeting will include First Amendment advocates.
Alternate headline: “Powerful man really, really wants to keep his job.” In case you’ve been tuned out of the news over the past week, Holder’s “regrets” may or may not also include perjuring himself in front of a House committee, neglecting to notify Fox News when the Justice Department subpoenaed James Rosen’s phone records in 2009, and doggedly fighting a court battle to keep its broader monitoring of Rosen secret. There’s also this small matter, not to be overlooked in Holder Apology Tour ’13:
In new PR effort, has Eric Holder said that James Rosen is the *only* reporter he has accused of crime and read emails? No others?
— Byron York (@ByronYork) May 29, 2013
Combine all that with the fishing expedition undertaken by the DOJ of AP reporters’ phone records and the still-unsolved mystery of Holder’s formal recusal from that case and, at best, you’ve got a prosecutor-in-chief who’s given basically zero thought on how to proceed in these matters — and yet now, with even some liberals calling for his resignation, is suddenly awash in regrets. John Sexton had a nice post yesterday pinpointing both Obama’s and Holder’s strategy while under fire for scandal: Substitute emotion for accountability. Holder’s going to grovel and pay fulsome lip service to the First Amendment, not unlike how his boss decided he needed to put on a big show of Hamlet-esque angst last week over all the people he’s bombing in Pakistan and Yemen. It’s cheap and disingenuous, but it works on the soi-disant intellectual target audience. It’s probably enough for Holder to keep his job, especially given O’s loyalty to him.
Fox News had a short-yet-sweet clip last night on the rising anti-Holder tide among lefties. An hour before this aired, Bob Beckel claimed that Democratic strategists think it’s unlikely that Holder will survive Scandalmania. That’s not the first time we’ve heard that, but I’m increasingly skeptical. Who among the public is clamoring for Holder’s dismissal? DOJ snooping on reporters to catch national-security leakers is, by and large, a boutique issue, especially as you introduce legal esoterica into the discussion. Depending upon how you frame the question, you can get a majority to tell you either that the Department overreached or that its actions were justified. Liberals and reporters are grumpy about it right now but no one’s staying home next November out of pique over Holder’s misdeeds; they’ll find a reason to rally anew to Obama’s side, if only to thwart the hated GOP. All Holder has to do, really, is mouth some garbage about remorse and ease up a bit in future leak investigations. Which, it appears, is exactly what he’s planning.