AP phone records seizure due to 'grave' security leak, DOJ says

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during an event at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House in Washington, DC.  (Alex Wong, Getty Images)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during an event at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong, Getty Images)
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Updated: 5/14/2013 4:30 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder said he played no direct role in the Justice Department's secret review of Associated Press phone records, but noted that it was part of an investigation into what he termed a grave national security leak.

Holder says he had removed himself from the matter because of congressional testimony he had given and his dealings with the news media.

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The AP in what the news cooperative's top executive called a massive and unprecedented intrusion into how news organizations gather the news.

Holder says officials had been looking into what he calls "a very serious leak" that "put the American people at risk." He has assigned Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole to handle the phone records case.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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