Obama orders review of guidelines for probing journalists

WASHINGTON Thu May 23, 2013 6:52pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about his administration's counter-terrorism policy at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, May 23, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about his administration's counter-terrorism policy at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, May 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday he directed Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a review of Department of Justice guidelines for investigations that involve journalists and report back by early July.

Obama has come under criticism for his administration's pursuit of journalists who have reported leaked material.

In recent weeks, it emerged that the Justice Department seized Associated Press phone records as part of a probe into leaks about a 2012 Yemen-based plot to bomb a U.S. airliner and that Fox News correspondent James Rosen had been named a "co-conspirator" in a federal leaks probe involving his reporting on North Korea.

"I'm troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable," Obama said on Thursday during a foreign policy speech about his administration's counterterrorism objectives.

"Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law," Obama said.

Obama said Holder would convene a group of media groups and collect their concerns as part of his review.

Obama said last week he made "no apologies" for his concern about leaks to the media that could compromise U.S. national security or put American military and intelligence officers at risk.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that Holder would report back to the president by July 12 and would meet with experts inside and outside government in addition to media representatives.

"This review is consistent with Attorney General Holder's long-standing belief that freedom of the press is essential to our democracy," the department said in a statement.

"At the same time, the Attorney General believes that leaks of classified information damage our national security and must be investigated using appropriate law enforcement tools."

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (9)
totherepublic wrote:
Here is the guide line for probing jounalist under the United Sates Constitution and order by the United States Supreme court-YOU DON’T! Pretty easy probe and if you don’t like it change the Constitution-good luck with that. It did and will not work for your gun control either did it? BTW we should have holder in jail by the end of july. Out of a job at least.

May 23, 2013 7:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
xonkd wrote:
Review what? Holder violated the very clear rules that were already in place when he got the subpoenas for the AP and FOX phone records and most likely violated the Constitution when they claimed Rosen as the co-conspirator. Now Obama, a Constitutional law professor, is claiming that ‘This was all a mistake. We’ll have to look at the rules again’.

May 23, 2013 7:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Exactly my thoughts…..

May 23, 2013 9:00pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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