Eric Holder blasts IRS scandal, defends seizure of Associated Press phone records

That is what happens when you throw the Media under the bus. They just cracked the Shit Bucket… I hope they let more of the truth to come out.

The attorney general called the IRS’ alleged targeting of conservative nonprofits as ‘outrageous and unacceptable, if not criminal.’ He also said the seizure of Associated Press phone records followed leaks that ‘put the American people at risk.’

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 3:47 PM

Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday termed alleged Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups as “outrageous and unacceptable” and said seizures of phone records of journalists followed national security leaks that “put the American people at risk.”

Holder said that he’s ordered the FBI and Justice Department to investigate whether the IRS broke any laws in dealing with nonprofit conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status. Reports of being singled out for scrutiny are “outrageous and unacceptable, if not criminal,” he said.

Holder was pressed repeatedly about the secret and extensive seizure of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors. He underscored that he had recused himself from the investigation early on for various reasons and left subsequent key decisions to top aides, whose actions he backed.

The wire service has protested a “serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news” after disclosure that the government obtained phone records for more than 20 lines.

RELATED: AP RAPS FEDS’ SECRET GRAB OF PHONE RECORDS

The reason for the seizure remains somewhat unclear. One suspicion is that it involved an ongoing investigation into leaks of information regarding the CIA’s breaking up a terrorist plot based in Yemen to blow up an airliner

On May 7, 2012, the AP broke the story of the plot that was uncovered by the CIA. That followed its agreement to hold on to the information for several days at the behest of the White House.

Holder did not confirm or deny that the subpoenas for records followed that specific story. But he said, “This was a very serious leak. A very, very serious leak.”

“I have been a prosecutor since 1976,” he said, “and this is within the top two or three most serious leaks I have seen. It put the American people at risk. That is not hyperbole. Trying to determine who was responsible required very aggressive action.”

RELATED: IRS ACTING CHIEF SAYS AGENCY SHOWED ‘LACK OF SENSITIVITY’

He then said that “based on the people I know” who were overseeing the matter for the department, including the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, he believes that obtaining records adhered to all relevant department regulations.

The Obama administration has aggressively taken action against what it believes are leaks affecting national security. Six current and former officials have been indicted in cases involving alleged leaks, a far greater number than in previous administrations.

Holder’s comments came during a joint press announcement with the Department of Health and Human Services on a variety of health care fraud prosecutions. There were 89 individuals indicted for alleged fraud totaling $223 million, including for fraudulent billing of Medicare.

On a variety of questions related to the Associated Press controversy, Holder cited his recusal as having left him ignorant. Thus, when asked why the department didn’t seek voluntary compliance from the wire service, he said he didn’t know.

RELATED: PRESIDENT OBAMA, CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS SLAM THE IRS FOR SINGLING OUT CONSERVATIVE GROUPS

He was subsequently hit with a flurry of questions that twinned the IRS and AP matters with other issues, such as the maintenance of the detainee camp at Guantanamo. He was asked bluntly if the Obama administration was hypocritical in not being the proponent of civil liberties President Obama pledged to be both before and after his 2008 election.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done,” said Holder, including what he considers are sensitive approaches to the war on terror. He said the administration ended certain policies of the Bush administration, including on interrogations, and has vigilantly taken actions to protect civil rights domestically.

Indeed, he took a shot at the previous administration, saying he inherited a “moribund civil rights division” from Bush. His division, he said, “has not only brought a record number of cases, it has protected a record number of people.”

As for changes in the war on terrorism, he said Obama has made “changes consistent with what the president campaigned on.”

 

Link…

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/holder-blasts-irs-scandal-defends-ap-record-seizure-article-1.1343799

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