Justice Department Shouldn’t Be Snooping on Journalists

Edgar's picture

At a time when President Trump regularly attacks the news media, the Department of Justice may be preparing to make it easier for the government to obtain journalists’ private communications data.

The public relies on both journalists and whistleblowers for vital information about our government’s most controversial activities. Weakening the current rules that protect reporters — as well as their sources — would undermine freedom of the press and endanger activities at the heart of the First Amendment.

This week, The Hill reported that DOJ has been working for months on potential revisions to its rules about when prosecutors can demand reporters’ phone records and other sensitive information like notes or emails. These records can reveal a journalist’s confidential sources, including the individuals who entrust journalists with information the public needs to know. The new report comes after statements by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions that, under his watch, DOJ was pursuing three timesas many leak investigations as it did under the Obama administration — which itself set records for leak prosecutions.

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