Politico and a few others attended.
I thought it was supposed to be “off-the-record”?
Maybe that means no quotes, but it didn’t stop Politico from writing about it, Eric Holder to media: I get it:
Attorney General Eric Holder expressed concern on Thursday about how the Department of Justice has handled recent media investigations at an off-the-record meeting with leading representatives of the press, according to those who were present.
At the session, Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole expressed a willingness to revise the guidelines for such investigations, journalists present at the get-together told POLITICO.
But Holder stopped short of offering any concrete changes to the guidelines. Instead, the Attorney General sought to assure the journalists that he and the DOJ were trying to seek a balance between the demands of national security and the free flow of information, and sought suggestions from the journalists on how those changes might be achieved.
“[Holder and 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,” said POLITICO editor-in-chief John Harris, who was present at the meeting.
Readers may have been surprised, then, to see in-depth reports of the meeting in places such as the Associated Press and Reuters. Both wire services ran lengthy pieces which featured quotes from journalists who had attended the gathering and discussed, in general terms, what Holder and his representatives said to them.
Apparently, the ground rules of the conversation shifted during the meeting. A piece in the Journal explained that the rules were “adjusted.”
Nice move by Holder. He can’t be quoted and his feet were not held to the fire publicly by these journalists, but he gets the headline he wanted:
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