A number of news organizations told Attorney General Eric Holder to, in effect, “go to hell” when invited to an “off the record” meeting to discuss the Justice Department’s guidelines on so-called guidelines governing security leak investigations of reporters.
Angry over Holder’s harassment of the Associated Press and secret monitoring of Fox News reporter James Rosen, representatives of the AP, the New York Times, Reuters, Fox, CNN, McClatchy and the Huffington Post said “no way” to a meeting unless it was on the record.
“I’d be happy to participate if the meeting were on the record. I also offered bring our first amendment lawyer with me,” said James Asher, bureau chief of McClatchy’s Washington bureau.
“We would welcome the opportunity to hear the attorney general’s explanation for the Department of Justice’s handling of subpoenas to journalists, and his thoughts about improving the protection offered to media organizations in responding to government investigations, but believe firmly that his comments should be for publication,” said Barb Burg of Reuters.
CNN was more direct. “CNN declines,” the organization said on the air Thursday.