Alex Pareene writes: Eric Holder feels bad. The attorney general of the United States has been criticized quite a bit since basically the day he was announced as Obama’s pick for the job, but lately that criticism has come from liberals, who are upset with the Justice Department for excessive snooping on journalists. Holder, according to Daniel Klaidman in the Daily Beast, now feels really personally sorry about the whole treating reporters like criminals thing, because he still thinks of himself as a good liberal.
Holder signed off on the search warrant issued for Fox News reporter James Rosen. The warrant justified seizing Rosen’s records by claiming that his handling of his source, a State Department contractor, may have constituted a violation of the Espionage Act. The AG apparently did not feel bad about this until he read in a newspaper that he had done so:
But for Attorney General Eric Holder, the gravity of the situation didn’t fully sink in until Monday morning when he read the Post’s front-page story, sitting at his kitchen table. Quoting from the affidavit, the story detailed how agents had tracked Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, perused his private emails, and traced the timing of his calls to the State Department security adviser suspected of leaking to him. Then the story, quoting the stark, clinical language of the affidavit, described Rosen as “at the very least … an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the crime. Holder knew that Justice would be besieged by the twin leak probes; but, according to aides, he was also beginning to feel a creeping sense of personal remorse.
Holder’s supposed “remorse” is risible. He didn’t realize how far he’d gone until he read about what he’d done in the Washington Post? Whoops! I accidentally criminalized news-gathering. (At least someone still reads the paper in print.) It is a bad sign of bubble-inhabiting when an administration doesn’t understand the ramifications of its actions until it reads about itself in the press.
I once compared Daniel Klaidman to a crow feeding off a rotting carcase but suggested that that might be unfair to crows. Even so, sycophantic behavior, as much as it expresses itself through an apparent desire to please others (Klaidman’s description of Holder’s angst must surely have pleased the attorney general), tends to be driven by the shameless pursuit of self interest.
At a time when plenty of journalists in Washington must be feeling like betrayed lovers, there are others whose desire to stay in bed with their sources is so strong they are apparently willing to forgive anything.
However contrite officials like Holder might act, and however outraged the press might present itself, each side can be in little doubt that their incestuous relations will continue.