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Holder says he had no direct role in AP subpoena

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 1:43 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 12:01 a.m. CST
Caption
(J. Scott Applewhite)
Attorney General Eric Holder is questioned about the Justice Department secretly obtaining two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press, during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. In what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion," the Justice Department monitored outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder says he played no direct role in the Justice Department's secret review of Associated Press phone records but called it part of an investigation into what he termed a grave national security leak.

Holder said he had removed himself from the matter because of congressional testimony he had given and his dealings with the news media.

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of AP reporters and editors.

Holder said federal prosecutors are looking into the matter.

"This was a very serious leak, a very grave leak" that "put the American people at risk," Holder told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.

Holder has assigned Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole to handle the phone records case.

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The AP in what the news cooperative's top executive called a massive and unprecedented intrusion into how news organizations gather the news.

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