WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Tuesday that he recused himself from involvement in a Justice Department leak investigation that secretly acquired telephone records of Associated Press journalists.
But in response to questions at a news conference, he defended the department’s conduct in probing what he described as one of the damaging leaks he has seen.
Holder said he testified in June 2012 that he was interviewed by the FBI in connection with the probe into a leak of classified information to the AP. “To avoid any potential appearance of a conflict of interest,” he said, “I recused myself from this matter.”
Since then, he said, the investigation has been conducted by the FBI under the direction of the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and the supervision of the deputy attorney general, James M. Cole.
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