Shelby questions DOJ ability to administer law after reporter spying

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the recent revelations of the Justice Department investigating reporters to determine the source of leaks had cast doubt on the ability of Department of Justice to “fairly administer the law.”

Attorney General Eric Holder testified Thursday before the committee on the topic of the DOJ’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request, but talk quickly turned to the recent revelations of DOJ probing of reporter’s phone records to determine the source of leaks.

“I would be remiss if I did not mention the controversy that has engulfed the Department and the Attorney General in recent weeks,” Shelby said in his opening statement. “These issues have overwhelmed the Department and cast a shadow of doubt upon the Attorney General.”

“The controversy that has embroiled the Department has called into question its ability, I believe, to fairly administer the law and justice,” he said. “Further, the questionable actions of the Attorney General, I believe, have tarnished the integrity, impartiality, and efficacy of the position of Attorney General.”

Shelby stopped short of calling for Holder to resign, as some Republicans have. He instead urged Holder to “move swiftly to address these issues that have been raised, not just by me, but by others, to put this controversy to rest in a full and open manner.”

Until that happened, Shelby said, “a hue of distrust will hover over the Department of Justice.”

Last month, the Associated Press reported that the DOJ had subpoenaed phone records from reporters and editors in the months leading up to a story that reported on an active CIA operation in Yemen, in an attempt to determine the source of what Holder called a “serious” leak. Later, it was reported that the DOJ obtained phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen, as well as getting a search warrant for his emails and tracking his comings and goings from the State Department because the DOJ believed that was where the source leaking Rosen information on North Korea worked.

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