After news editor boycott, U.S. attorney general loosens rules

Fri May 31, 2013 3:49pm EDT
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By David Ingram

WASHINGTON May 31 (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder loosened his rules for speaking with media editors on Friday during a second day of meetings with them about his Justice Department's handling of investigations that involve reporters, the editors said.

Representatives from Reuters and ABC News met with Holder, the chief U.S. law enforcement officer, and his staff following recent disclosures that federal prosecutors seized records from two other media outlets without advance notice.

A Reuters spokeswoman had said on Thursday that the news agency would not take part in any discussion that was "off the record," meaning its contents could not be recorded or reported.

Reuters and some news organizations, including The New York Times and CNN, said they would not attend, but representatives of other news organizations met with Holder on Thursday.

Another meeting went ahead on Friday after Holder agreed its contents would be largely for publication, Reuters Chief Operating Officer Stuart Karle told reporters outside Justice Department headquarters. Karle attended with Marilyn Thompson, the Reuters bureau chief in Washington.

He said that department officials showed an interest in making changes to investigative guidelines on access to media records, but he said it was premature to draw conclusions.

"Long-term, I think they're looking for changes in how the rules operate and regard this as an opportunity to make sure that happens," Karle said.

The meetings were part of a 45-day review of Justice Department guidelines ordered by President Barack Obama after an outcry from journalists that the seizure of records from the Associated Press and Fox News compromised press freedom.   Continued...