Alberto Gonzales Recalls Time He Declined To Subpoena Reporter

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recalled on Wednesday a time when he was confronted with a “very serious leak investigation” similar to the one that has embroiled the Obama administration this week. But, he said, he went a very different route and decided against subpoenaing a reporter’s notes.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday defended the seizure of Associated Press phone records, saying the Department of Justice was trying to get to the bottom of a “very serious leak” that “put American people at risk.” Gonzales, who oversaw a massive domestic wiretapping program under former President George W. Bush, acknowledged on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the attorney general is often forced to “make a very hard determination” but when faced with a similar dilemma, his Justice Department “ultimately decided not to move forward.”

“There was at least one occasion in which we were engaged in a very serious leak investigation and we had to make some very difficult choices about whether or not to move forward going after the reporters in order to try to find out where the source of the leak is,” Gonzales said. “And sometimes the department finds itself in a situation where they have exhausted all means and they have to make a very hard determination as to whether or not they want to subpoena the reporter, they want to subpoena the reporter’s notes. So, yes, I’ve had that situation. And I think in the instance that I have in mind, we ultimately decided not to move forward.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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