Eric Holder Says He Wouldn't Prosecute Glenn Greenwald ... Sort of

Human Rights

In an interview with The Washington Post, Attorney General Eric Holder implied that even though he doesn’t agree with reporter Glenn Greenwald’s actions, he wouldn’t prosecute him.


After stating that the Justice Department has not given up its efforts to repatriate Edward Snowden, Holder said that the department is not, however, planning to take action against Greenwald.

He said:

Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department. … I certainly don’t agree with what Greenwald has done. … In some ways, he blurs the line between advocate and journalist. But on the basis of what I know now, I’m not sure there is a basis for prosecution of Greenwald.

While Holder’s statement doesn’t indicate an overwhelming support of freedom of the press, it does express an awareness that Greenwald’s actions were journalistic. Perhaps the most troubling implication, though, is that the prosecution of Greenwald is even a possibility.

Greenwald, who currently lives in Brazil and has said he fears coming to the United States, responded to Holder’s statement in an email:

That this question is even on people’s minds is a rather grim reflection of the Obama administration’s record on press freedoms. … It is a positive step that the Attorney General expressly recognizes that journalism is not and should not be a crime in the United States, but given this administration’s poor record on press freedoms, I’ll consult with my counsel on whether one can or should rely on such caveat-riddled oral assertions about the government’s intentions.

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