Nightly News   |  June 05, 2013

Holder has ‘no intention’ of stepping down

In a rare television interview with NBC’s Pete Williams, Attorney General Eric Holder said he still has goals he hopes to accomplish with President Obama, and aims to strike a better balance between press freedom and safeguarding national secrets.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to an nbc news exclusive tonight. the attorney general of the united states , eric holder , under fire on several fronts and fighting off calls for his resignation. he broke his silence today and agreed to an interview with our justice correspondent pete williams .

>> reporter: after enduring weeks of criticism over the government's aggressive investigation of leaks, the attorney general says a better balance must be struck between press freedom and safeguarding national secrets.

>> i'm a little concerned that things have gotten a little out of whack. i think we can do a better job than we have. we can reform those regulations, reform those guidelines to;u better reflect the balance.

>> reporter: the justice department obtained logs for more than 20 phone lines used by associated press reporters to find the source for a story about al qaeda terror plotters in yemen. the government obtained e-mail and phone records from james rosen calling him in court documents at the very least either an aider, abetter or coconspirator. holder said that phrase was required to get a search warrant.

>> i don't like that. me as a governmen t it meansw official who has great respect for the press is in e essence saying a reporter doing his or her job and doing that important job is somehow branded a criminal. i'm just not comfortable with that. we're going to change that.

>> reporter: another possible change, giving the news media the chance to fight a request for records in court before they are turned over.

>> we'll come up with ways in which notification can be given to the media and possibly involve on a more consistent basis judges as third party ash tors.

>> reporter: as for calls he stepped down he said not yet.

>> there are things i want to do. things i want to get done that i hav%ja discussed with the president. once i have finished that, i will sit down with him and we'll determine when it is time to make a transition to a new attorney general.

>> reporter: to be clear you are not stepping down now.

>> i have no intention of doing so now.

>> reporter: as for the leaks he said that's not the result of a policy decision but is a?w ?q?tjjuuz deman ds from the intelligence community and congress to crack down. brian?

>> pete williams at the justice department following his exclusive interview with the attorney general today.