U.S. attorney general blocks seizure of journalists’ records

Attorney General Merrick Garland set new guidelines for the Justice Department preventing it from confiscating journalists’ information that could lead to revealing sources. In 2020 the Trump administration seized data from reporters at the Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times seeking the identities of sources. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, July 19, 2021)

Garland said in weighing national interests, the department could “fail to properly weigh the important national interest in protecting journalists from compelled disclosure of information revealing their sources, sources they need to apprise the American people of the workings of their government.” (Politico, July 19, 2021, by Maeve Sheehey)

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times, July 23, 2021, observes that it is too easy to blame the Trump administration for the damage. The Times points outs that the Obama administration with then Vice President Joe Biden obtained reporters’ records to combat government leaks. It is up to Congress to enact laws to protect journalists so that the protections remain in place regardless of the administration.

For recent FAC coverage, click here, here and here.

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