The Justice Department announced Saturday that it will no longer secretly obtain journalists’ records during leak investigations, a policy recently used by the Trump administration to seize records of four New York Times reporters.
The announcement followed President Joe Biden’s statements last month criticizing the policy, calling it “simply wrong” to seize journalists records and saying the policy wouldn’t continue under his administration.
“Going forward, consistent with the President’s direction, this Department of Justice – in a change to its longstanding practice – will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs,” Anthony Coley, Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement.
The policy was used by past Democratic and Republican administrations to try to identify sources who provided journalists with classified information, however, it recently came under fire again after three news organizations – The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN – were made aware that their phone records were obtained.
The Times reported Wednesday that the Trump administration’s Justice Department secretly obtained phone records of four journalists during a leak investigation.
“The Department strongly values a free press, protecting First Amendment values, and is committed to taking all appropriate steps to ensure the independence of journalists,” Coley added.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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