In a meeting with top lawyers from the intelligence community, Attorney General Eric Holder said that despite the firestorm over the seizure of phone records and emails from reporters he does not want the Obama administration's effort to punish media leakers to end.
A senior intelligence official who was in the room told Fox News that Holder's message to the intelligence community was a simple one. "He assured us that he wanted to continue aggressively prosecuting leaks," said the official who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity.
The veteran national security official said Holder was conscious of the outcry from Capitol Hill and on the airwaves over the DOJ pursuing journalists' records in the course of leak probes. The department seized records of what the Associated Press said were huge numbers of telephone calls made to and from the wire service and its reporters, and labeled Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen as a potential "criminal co-conspirator" over his discussions with a State Department source and alleged leaker.
Holder told the assembled attorneys he would rather see a "narrower, more tailored approach," said the intelligence official. "I left with the impression that the AG thought the AP phone record seizure was a bit too broad."
Holder's call to remain "aggressive" underscores the administration's unprecedented focus on prosecuting media leaks. Holder has in the past pointed with pride to the fact that the Obama administration has prosecuted more media leak cases than any presidential team in history -- an enthusiasm which has left many unsettled, on both the left and right.
The meeting took place Thursday, the same day Holder told top DOJ aides in a separate daily staff meeting that he was "fine," and that they should "just focus and get their work done." It was a busy day, as Holder and top aides would also begin meetings with media executives and editors, which are still ongoing, to open a dialogue with reporters and their bosses about policies concerning investigations that involve leaks and the media.
Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.