Attorney General Merrick Garland has curtailed the Justice Department’s ability to secretly obtain reporter phone and email records after protesting the Trump administration’s excessive search for leakers.
A Note The Department of Justice issued on Monday said it would formally adopt a new policy limiting “a compulsory process for obtaining information or records from members of the press acting within the scope of coverage activities.”
It will come later Reveal that the previous administration secretly seized phone records Of reporters from New York Times, Washington post CNN as part of a leak investigation to identify sources..
In a statement, Mr Garland said his deputy prosecutor would “further explain, develop and systematize the policy” to protect the media “in a permanent way.”
President Joe Biden He previously called the practice of obtaining reporter records “simply wrong” and said he would not allow this to happen during his term.
May, The· Washington post Revealed what Mr. Trump’s Justice Department had I got the record of three of the journalists Those who covered Russia’s attempt to thwart the 2016 elections between April and July 2017.
at that time, Of the post “We are deeply plagued by this use of government power to seek access to journalists’ communications,” said Deputy Editor-in-Chief Cameron Barr.
That same month, CNN said it had obtained records for Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
In June Times Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt have released records for four reporters. Seized for 4 months in 2017..
The newspaper was informed by the DOJ that the record was captured by the drugnet during an investigation into a “criminal investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.”
The· Times At the time, editor-in-chief Dean Bake said the seizure of journalists’ telephone records “significantly undermined press freedom,” and “to provide the public with important information about what the government is doing. It threatens to silence the sources it depends on. “
Previously, the Justice Department could track communications with sources if reporters were suspected of receiving unauthorized sensitive information.
This approach has been strongly criticized by Congress and advocates of free speech, arguing that it can be used to curb legitimate coverage of public interest issues.
The Justice Department will only report if the reporter is suspected of being involved in a criminal offense other than journalism, is suspected of acting on behalf of a foreign power, or is at immediate risk of death or serious harm. You can now ask for a record of. ..
“Free and independent coverage is essential to the functioning of our democracy,” Garland said in a memo.
During his four-year administration, Mr. Trump repeatedly attacked unauthorized leaks and responded keenly to reports of Russia’s involvement in winning the 2016 presidential election.