It is the third instance in the past month in which a news media organization has revealed that federal officials have confiscated the records of its journalists in an effort to identify the sources of national security stories published during the presidency. Donald TrumpAdministration of
President Joe Biden has said he will not allow it Justice Department Calling it “just, just wrong”, to continue the practice of obtaining journalists’ records.
Justice Department Spokesman Anthony Coley said the department informed the newspaper on Wednesday that it had obtained phone records for four journalists last year and that it had collected non-material email records as part of a “criminal investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” Tried to get. “
The newspaper said the seized records cover a period of about four months in 2017 and belonged to journalists Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Lichtblau has since left the newspaper.
Justice Department According to the newspaper, it did not disclose which article he was investigating. But the period covered by the phone record seizure includes an April 2017 story of four journalists describing the decision-making of then-FBI Director James Comey during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and a classified document obtained by Russian hackers. was described.
Journalists were neither the subject nor the target of the investigation, Koli said.
Coley said, “The upcoming annual public report by the department covering 2019 and 2020 will indicate that members of the news media are now informed in this period in every instance in which their records are sought or obtained under such circumstances.” went.”
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The Times, said in a statement published by the newspaper that the seizure of journalists’ phone records “greatly undermines the freedom of the press.
“It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing,” Baquet said.
The Washington Post revealed last month that Justice Department last year obtained the phone records of three of its journalists who covered the 2016 Russian election interference investigation. CNN later revealed that the department had also confiscated the phone records of its Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, last year.
After those revelations, Biden told a reporter he wouldn’t allow Justice Department To stay in receiving phone records. It would mark a break from Democratic and Republican predecessors alike, who have confiscated reporter call logs in an effort to identify the sources of the classified information.
Justice Department Under former attorney general Eric Holder announced revised guidelines for investigating leaks, an additional level of review is required before a journalist can be summoned – although this did not end the practice.
Jeff Sessions, who served as president Donald TrumpThe U.S. first attorney general announced an aggressive government crackdown on the leaks in 2017.
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