House Judiciary: Did Eric Holder lie under oath?

The House Judiciary Committee is looking into whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his testimony earlier this month on the Justice Department's seizing of journalists' records, CBS News has confirmed.

Holder appeared before the committee on May 15 and said he wasn't involved in "the potential prosecution" of a member of the press under the Espionage Act for disclosing information adding, "this is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy."

Shortly thereafter, reports began to surface that the Justice Department, in addition to seizing telephone and email records of Associated Press reporters, had seized the the emails and phone records of Fox News correspondent James Rosen.

In the case of the AP, Holder had recused himself from the case. However, shortly after his testimony on May 15, the Washington Post reported that Holder had signed off on the search warrant for Rosen's records.

In the search warrant, the FBI called Rosen a "criminal co-conspirator" and suggested there's probable cause that he violated federal law. Rosen was not charged with any crime.

Asked Tuesday if he feels regret for signing off on the warrant, Holder told reporters: "I'm not satisfied. I'm not satisfied (with the department's guidelines involving the news media in criminal investigations)."

Rosen vowed last week to protect his source for a scoop he got back in 2009, reporting then that North Korea would respond to sanctions with more nuclear tests.

But the information was classified, and the FBI launched an investigation to uncover Rosen's source that quickly focused on Rosen himself.

The level of government surveillance of a reporter was unprecedented. Agents monitored Rosen's movements in and out of the State Department. They searched his personal emails and combed through his cell phone records.

Last week, President Obama, who's come under bipartisan criticism for the digging into journalists' records, said he directed Holder to conduct a review of Justice Department's guidelines for probes that involve journalists and said Holder would meet with media groups as part of that review.

Holder said Tuesday he hopes those meetings will start this week.

"We're going to be working with you guys. We're going to have a real frank, good conversation about this. And I think we're going to make some changes because I'm not satisfied where we are."

Meantime, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CBS News' Bob Schieffer that he and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are convening a new "gang of eight" senators - four Democrats and four Republicans - to look at how future government leaks are investigated.

"If the government wants to go to a member of the press and say you have to divulge your sources and certain information, they first have to go to a judge and that judge will impose a balancing test," Schumer said Sunday on "Face the Nation".

"Which is more important, the government's desire to find out who leaked the information or the robust freedom of the press?"

  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBSNews.com's Executive Editor, Washington.

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