By subpoenaing the phone records of several journalists at the Associated Press, the Justice Department "does not want to have its actions chill [journalists'] sources," Attorney General Eric Holder said in testimony today before the House Judiciary Committee.
Holder was questioned about whether he worried the department's actions, which have been described by the AP and a former federal prosecutor as unprecedented, would have an adverse affect on news organizations' ability to communicate with confidential sources.
Holder's remark drew this response on Twitter from former Bush White House counterterrorism adviser Fran Townsend: "WHAT.??? That is precisely the point of a leak investigation"
Townsend had been a senior Justice Department official before she joined the Bush White House.