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Obama says "no apologies" over U.S. security leak probe

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the White House Rose Garde
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the White House Rose Garde

By Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday he makes "no apologies" for his concern about leaks to the media that could compromise U.S. national security or put American military and intelligence officers at risk.

Obama expressed complete confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder and declined to comment on the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press phone records, part of a probe into media leaks about a Yemen-based plot to bomb a U.S. airliner.

"Leaks related to national security can put people at risk," Obama said at a news conference.

"And so I make no apologies, and I don't think the American people would expect me, as commander in chief, not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed," Obama said.

But he expressed support for the revival of a media shield law that he said would balance the need to protect press freedoms with national security concerns.

"To the extent this case has prompted renewed interest about how do we strike that balance properly - and I think now's the time for us to go ahead and revisit that legislation," Obama said.

(Additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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