By JEREMY W. PETERS
Published: June 3, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday formally told House Republicans that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s testimony before a Congressional committee last month was “accurate and consistent” with the facts.
The answers provided by one of the department’s top deputies are likely to do little, however, to resolve the dispute over whether Mr. Holder misled Congress by denying that the Justice Department had considered prosecuting journalists under the Espionage Act.
In testimony on May 15, Mr. Holder dismissed the notion that reporters writing about national security secrets should be indicted under the Espionage Act, saying:
“With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I've ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy.”
But since then the department confirmed that Mr. Holder had approved a request for a search warrant in 2010 for the private correspondence of James Rosen, a Fox News reporter who disclosed a North Korean nuclear test that had not been made public.
An affidavit filed in the investigation seeking Mr. Rosen’s e-mails said there was probable cause to believe Mr. Rosen had violated the Espionage Act, arguing that he qualified for an exception to a law that generally bars search warrants for reporters’ work unless the reporter is suspected of committing a crime.