Attorney General Eric Holder today met with Washington journalists in what was supposed to be an off the record conversation, but he ultimately relented and allowed participants to discuss a portion of what they had heard.
According to Dylan Byers of Politico, Justice officials allowed participants to speak publicly “in general” about “some of the ideas that were discussed during the course of what otherwise an off the record meeting.”
During the session, 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,” said Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris, who was present.
Five journalists were at the meeting: Harris; Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron; Wall Street Journal Washington bureau chief Gerald Seib; New Yorker staff writer Jane Myer; and Jim Warren, the Washington bureau chief for The New York Daily News, according to Byers.
The Associated Press, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, CBS News, Reuters, McClatchy, and The Huffington Post refused to attend.
A second meeting with another group of journalists is planned for Friday.
As I predicted earlier today, the session offered journalists a chance to make forceful points about how the Justice Department should be treating the press.
“I felt all the journalists there spoke up well about the issues, and pulled no punches,” Mayer told Byers. But Holder apparently offered little in the way of a preview of the kinds of changes he is considering.