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Holder: 'We're not in a time of war'

Holder: 'We're not in a time of war'
© Lauren Schneiderman

The United States is not "in a time of war," according to Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderJames Comey and Andrew McCabe: You read, you decide Eric Holder headed to New Hampshire for high-profile event Holder: 'Our democracy is under attack' MORE, even as the Obama administration seeks new authorization to use military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Holder made the remark at the National Press Club on Tuesday when asked about the Justice Department's investigation of journalists over the leaking of national security secrets. The attorney general made a hypothetical argument to defend the DOJ's leak probes.

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“I'll use an extreme example, perhaps unfair. In World War II, if a reporter had found about -- found out about the existence of the Manhattan Project, is that something that should have been disclosed?” he said.

“Now we're not in a time of war, I understand that," Holder continued. "And I said that's an extreme example. But I think there is a question that members of the press should ask about whether or not the disclosure of the information has a negative impact on the national security of the nation,” according to Holder.

Holder's comments came days after President Obama last week submitted a request for a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS.

His statement also appeared to contradict remarks he made last month after the Paris terror attacks.

The U.S. is at war with "radical Islam," Holder said at the time, especially "those who would commit terrorist attacks and who would corrupt the Islamic faith … to try to justify their terrorist actions."

"That's who we are at war with," Holder said. "We are determined to take the fight to them to prevent them from engaging in these kinds of activities."