The magazine quoted Holder in its Feb. 17 issue as saying he planned to stay on "well into 2014" and took that to mean he intended to leave before the end of the year.
"The most the attorney general has said is that he still has a lot he wants to accomplish on issues like criminal justice reform, voting rights and LGBT equality," department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement quoted by Talking Points Memo. "He did not speak about his plans any further than that."
LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Holder, who assumed office Feb. 3, 2009, told CBS News Nov. 19 he didn't have "any plans" to step down.
Congressional Republicans often criticize Holder's policies. Twenty House members, led by Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, called for his impeachment in November, charging him with perjury, failure to comply with subpoenas and failure to discharge the duties of attorney general.
The Republican-led House in June 2012 voted overwhelmingly to hold him in criminal contempt for not complying with congressional subpoenas related to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running campaign.
Holder's office called the vote "an election-year tactic intended to distract attention."
A Justice Department inspector general report cleared Holder of any wrongdoing in the Fast and Furious scandal.
Concerning the New Yorker interview, which took place Dec. 19, the Justice Department provided a partial transcript. Fallon and the magazine both said the transcript speaks for itself.
New Yorker: "And how long are you going to be the attorney general? You mentioned 'as long as I'm attorney general' ... "
Holder: "Well, you know, I've still got things I want to do. I mean, I've got this fight, this criminal justice reform stuff that I talked about, I guess, in August at the ABA [American Bar Association]. I've got financial cases I'm still working on. So I'm going to be here for a while.
New Yorker: "Do you want to put any more specific -- this is like journalism . ... I have to ask all these questions. If you don't want to tell me, don't tell me. Like, do you know? A year? Two years?"
Holder: "I guess, I think what I've said is, I'm going to be here certainly into 2014."
New Yorker: "That's a big commitment. It's in, like, three weeks ..."
Holder: "I think I've said, 'well into 2014.'"
New Yorker: "I see. 'Well into'? OK, very good."