Thursday, January 15, 2015

Justice Department revises guidelines for issuing subpoenas to journalists in news-leak probes

In a move that affects all journalists, the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday announced that it has "revised guidelines for obtaining records from the news media during criminal leak investigations, removing language that news organizations said was ambiguous and requiring additional levels of review before a journalist can be subpoenaed," Eric Tucker reports for The Associated Press.

The Obama administration has been criticized for being overly aggressive in filing subpoenas for reporters' telephone records and emails, including spending several years trying to compel a New York Times reporter to testify in the trial of a former CIA officer accused of disclosing classified information, Tucker writes. The Justice Department abandoned that case this past week.

In February 2014 the department "issued new rules designed to give news organizations an opportunity to challenge subpoenas or search warrants in federal court," Tucker writes. "But news organizations expressed concern that the protections applied only to journalists involved in 'ordinary newsgathering activities,' language they said was vague and could be exploited by zealous prosecutors. That provision has been deleted in the new guidelines, which also require the attorney general in most instances to authorize subpoenas issued for the media and for the Justice Department's criminal division to also be consulted." (Read more)

1 comment:

Brad Martin said...

Still haven't seen the guidelines.