Eric Holder does not always love his job, but the controversies surrounding his tenure as attorney general have mostly remained stuck in the conservative side of the Internet. But the Justice Department's leak investigation is different. Mainstream outrage is built into the scandal, because it directly affects mainstream news reporters. And so, The Daily Beast's Daniel Klaidman reports, when it became public that the DOJ had subpoenaed Associated Press phone records and gotten a search warrant a Fox News reporter's emails, Holder "was also beginning to feel a creeping sense of personal remorse." The remorse came not when he approved the Rosen search warrant, but once everyone found out about it. The DOJ went into "damage-control mode." That Holder takes this controversy very seriously is clear in all the things he's doing to fix his image.
1. Promise we didn't mean it. After being called by The Washington Post about the Rosen story, the DOJ prepared a response to say they never were going to prosecute Rosen.
2. Promise it will never happen again. Holder "and his advisers began exploring ways to reform the Justice Department’s internal guidelines for investigating leaks to safeguard the media against overly intrusive tactics," Klaidman reports. He offers a few reasons for the decision Holder now regrets: he was under a lot of pressure to prosecute leaks, the White House didn't push back against that pressure, there were gaps in the DOJ guidelines, and prosecutors tend to try to collect as much evidence as possible -- forgetting to think about the bigger picture.
3. Promise a law to make sure it never happens again. Then Holder starting calling senators to propse a media shield law, saying, according to an unnamed Holder adviser, "Look we get it. We understand why this is so controversial, and we’re ready to make changes to find the right balance."
4. Promise he really loves the press! A Holder friend told The Daily Beast, "Look, Eric sees himself fundamentally as a progressive, not some Torquemada out to silence the press."
5. Invites to hang out with the press to prove it. Holder's office is sending out invitations on Tuesday to media organizations for a "dialogue." The first meetings will be next week.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.