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Eric Holder recuses himself from AP leak investigation; Update: Press conference(s) over

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By Doug Powers  •  May 14, 2013 01:04 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

The latest on the AP/DOJ fallout by way of Katie Pavlich at Townhall:

Attorney General Eric Holder has recused himself from the Associated Press leak investigation. He will officially announce his recusal at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Fox News is reporting his recusal comes partially because Holder has testified about potential national security leaks surrounding a May 7, 2012 Associated Press story.

Holder’s recusal is of course in response to this story:

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.

In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.

Did the Obama Justice Department try just asking first? It’s not like the AP hasn’t been amenable in the past.

We’re now awaiting what promises to be an interesting White House press conference. Years later the press is starting to show up to the party — it’s amazing what happens when the intrusions start hitting so close to home. You can watch live here. Cue Jay Carney’s theme song. (Update: Carney and Holder are holding their separate press conferences simultaneously — and they expect everybody to believe they don’t coordinate activities?)

The AP, IRS and Benghazi — but still another shoe yet to drop?

Update II: Press conferences are over. Holder justified seizing AP phone records by saying they were investigating a “very serious” leak. Holder also said the number of leaks they’ve been investigating is higher than previous administrations, making it sound as if the amount of freedom we have will depend on the number of leakers in any given administration. Imagine the left’s reaction if this had come from John Ashcroft.

**Written by Doug Powers

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