The US Attorney General's New Normal Watergate fiasco gets more surreal by the day.
Eric Holder, currently being investigated for lying under oath, has been in hot water ever since the break of the AP scandal. But it has been his "handling" of the spillover that has raised eyebrows. The latest update is sure to raise them even more. Because it turns out that during Thursday's "off the record" meeting which the majority of the press boycotted for the simple reason that the reporting press probably can't go off the record when the topic is the US government's precedence over the first amendment or it will lose what little credibility it has left, Holder's message was simple: "trust me, I am the government, and I will stop spying on you." The farce just goes downhill from there.
United States Attorney General Eric Holder said during an off-the-record meeting Thursday that the Department of Justice will change the way it conducts investigations of reporters amid scandals centered on Associated Press and Fox News journalists.
"Justice Department officials agreed that the journalists could discuss publicly in general some of the ideas that were discussed during the course of what [was] otherwise an off the record meeting,” Dylan Byers wrote for Politico. Journalists with other publications have also opened up about the event.
Despite the Justice Department’s original plans to keep the meeting’s details from going public, accounts of Thursday’s address that have surfaced in the day since reveal that Mr. Holder hoped to convince journalists that changes are on the horizon for how his office conducts probes into journalists.
According to Byers, Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole “said they are reaching out to editors and counsels for news organizations about how to strike what they called ‘the balance’ between protecting the flow of information and journalists’ ability to do our jobs and what they described as national security damage.”
“[Holder and aides] completely endorsed the president’s statement that reporters should not be at legal risk for doing their job. They acknowledged the need for changes in their own guidelines and the need to have a more rigorous internal review,” Martin Baron added in the Washington Post.
But even if the DoJ acknowledged those changes, eyewitnesses say it’s not certain when or how adjustments will be implemented. While most attendees say that Holder and Cole seemed understanding of their grievances, few walked away with feeling fulfilled about promises that have yet to be cemented.
“I didn’t come away with a precise understanding of how those guidelines might change, and I didn’t have impression they were settled in their own mind,” Byers added for a separate Politico article.
“Who knows what’s going to happen if they in fact are going to practice what they seem to preach and try to change some laws that we feel are very relevant. But I think it’s sort of an opening gambit, an opening discussion,” New York Daily News Washington bureau chief Jim Warren told CNN.
And so on.
Summarizing: a secret meeting with the same press that was being spied on for who knows how long, promising that the administration will be more transparent, and to take the AG's word for it, the same AG who is being investigated for perjury before Congress.