The AG still insists he knew nothing of the seizure of AP phone records, saying he "recused" himself for technical reasons.
But a Justice Department official has told NBC News that Holder himself approved the subpoenas that seized Fox News reporter James Rosen's emails and other communications.
And talk about hypocrisy, President Obama solemnly declared yesterday:
"I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable," Obama said. "Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs."
He then put Holder in charge of reviewing Justice Department guidelines governing investigating journalists.
No, really. He actually did that.
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Department of Justice later issued a statement about the review of media guidelines: "This review is consistent with Attorney General Holder's long-standing belief that freedom of the press is essential to our democracy," it said. "At the same time, the attorney general believes that leaks of classified information damage our national security and must be investigated using appropriate law enforcement tools. We remain steadfast in our commitment to following all laws and regulations intended to safeguard national security as well as the First Amendment interests of the press in reporting the news and the public in receiving it."
The law enforcement official said Holder's approval of the Rosen search, in the spring of 2010, came after senior Justice officials concluded there was "probable cause" that Rosen's communications with his source, identified as intelligence analyst Stephen Kim, met the legal burden for such searches. "It was approved at the highest levels-- and I mean the highest," said the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said that explicitly included Holder.
Kim has since been indicted on charges that he leaked classified information to Rosen about how North Korea would respond to a United Nations resolution condemning the country's nuclear program. He has denied the charges.
In an affidavit in support of a search warrant to Google for Rosen's emails, an FBI agent wrote that the Fox News journalist -- identified only as "the Reporter" -- had "asked, solicited and encouraged Mr. Kim to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information."
"The Reporter did so by employing flattery and playing to Mr. Kim's vanity and ego," it continued. "Much like an intelligence officer would run a clandestine intelligence source, the Reporter instructed Mr. Kim on a covert communications plan that involved" emails from his gmail account.
Reading that statement about Holder's love for freedom of the press, I got a prickly feeling up my back when I realized they actually expect us to believe it. They aren't trying to be funny. And it's more than "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." They have determined that the press will dutifully report and quote that statement and that the American people will swallow it whole.
This administration has been caught red handed and their general response is that no one is responsible and we will get to the bottom of our own wrongdoing.
What a nightmare dystopian vision.