"We believe the meeting should be on the record and we have said that to the Attorney General’s office. If it is on the record, AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll will attend. If it is not on the record, AP will not attend and instead will offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter," AP spokesperson Erin Madigan said in a statement sent to POLITICO. "We would expect AP attorneys to be included in any planned meetings between the Attorney General’s office and media lawyers on the legal specifics."
The AP's decision comes over an hour after The New York Times announced that it would not be attending the meeting, citing concerns about the DOJ's off-the-record provision.
"We will not be attending the session at DOJ. It isn’t appropriate for us to attend an off the record meeting with the attorney general. Our Washington bureau is aggressively covering the department’s handling of leak investigations at this time," Jill Abramson, the Times' executive editor, said in a statement. Abramson said the paper's legal counsel would attend a future session on the legal aspects of leak cases.
The Justice Department announced this week that it was contacting Washington bureau chiefs from major national news organizations to set up a meeting with Attorney General Holder to discuss changes to the department's guidelines for subpoenas of reporters. On Wednesday, The Huffington Post reported that those meetings would be conducted off-record, meaning the bureau chiefs would not be free to report on Holder's remarks.
The AP reported on May 13 that the DOJ had "secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors" in what it's chief executive described as a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into its news gathering operations. A Washington Post report later revealed that the DOJ had also monitored Fox News reporters as part of a different investigation.