Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress Wednesday that a serious national security leak required the secret gathering of telephone records at The Associated Press as he stood by an investigation in which he insisted he had no involvement.
Pestered by Republicans and some Democrats, Holder testified that he has faith in the individuals conducting the broad investigation, driven in large part by GOP outrage last year over the possibility that administration officials leaked information to enhance President Barack Obama's national security reputation in an election year.
Holder said he had recused himself from the case because "I am a possessor of information eventually leaked." He said he was unable to answer questions on the subpoenas and why the Justice Department failed to negotiate with the AP prior to the subpoenas, a standard practice.
That elicited frustration from some committee members with the Obama administration and the attorney general.
"There doesn't appear to be any acceptance of responsibility for things that have gone wrong," Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., told Holder. He suggested that administration officials travel to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and take a photo of the famous sign, "the buck stops here."