Holder on Hot Seat over AP Phone Record Grab

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder himself is on the hot seat for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at The Associated Press.

Holder faces tough questions Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

"Members of the committee will ask pointed questions about the Justice Department's decision to obtain two months' worth of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press," committee chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said. "Congress and the American people expect answers and accountability."

The AP has called the phone record grab a "massive and unprecedented intrusion."

Holder defended the subpoena of AP phone records at a news conference Tuesday, saying it was part of a criminal investigation into the leak of classified information. 

"I have to say that this is among, if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that I've ever seen," Holder told reporters. "It put the American people at risk and that is not hyperbole. It put the American people at risk and trying to determine who was responsible for that I think required very aggressive action."

But critics like Seton Motley, founder and president of Less Government, call the Justice Department's actions government overreach.
    
"What it shows is a systematic administration-wide approach to privacy, political opponents, anyone that stands in opposition to this administration and that is 'We'll stomp on you. We'll stop you from doing what you want and need to do,'" Motley told CBN News.

"Any of these panoply of things that are coming down, it's becoming more and more apparent that the Obama administration does not respect the wall between the government, the Fourth Amendment, which means you as an individual as a citizen are secure in your papers and your personal belongings and the government," Motley added.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press also sent a letter of protest to the attorney general and deputy attorney feneral.

In part, the letter read, "We write to both of you, to express our displeasure with how this incident was handled and demand that any similar actions in the future be handled with greater consideration of the news media's First Amendment rights."

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