US attorney general to meet media after leaks row

Attorney General Eric Holder will meet with US news organizations after an uproar caused by the Justice Department secretly obtaining phone records of reporters while investigating news leaks.

Guidelines for investigations involving journalists are to be discussed, Holder's office said Wednesday.

Holder "will hold meetings with several Washington bureau chiefs of national news organizations in the next two days" as part of the review of guidelines "governing investigations that involve reporters," the Justice Department said.

The review, which President Barack Obama announced on May 23, is consistent with Holder's "long standing belief that protecting and defending the First Amendment is essential to our democracy," the statement said.

After meeting with bureau chiefs, Holder plans to hold further discussions "with a diverse and representative group of news media organizations, including print, wires, radio, television, online media and news and trade associations."

The Associated Press complained on May 13 that the Justice Department had secretly obtained two months of phone records from its news operations, believed to be part of a probe into an article on a foiled terror plot.

More than 50 media organizations protested the government seizure, in a letter released by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

And soon after, US media reported that government investigators had probed emails and phone records from Fox News reporter James Rosen, possibly in connection to a former State Department official accused of leaking him classified information on North Korea.

Obama has argued that a balance has to be struck between press freedoms and the lives of covert US operatives overseas.