Articles about "Department of Justice"


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Attorney general pledges he won’t jail reporters for ‘doing their job’

The New York Times | USA Today | Politico

In a meeting with journalists to discuss Justice Department media guidelines Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told participants, “As long as I’m attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail. As long as I’m attorney general, someone who is doing their job is not going to get prosecuted.”

The attorney general “was not discussing any particular case,” Charlie Savage reports a Justice Department official said, but Savage’s New York Times colleague James Risen is fighting an order to testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him. In March, Risen said the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

The Justice Department said Holder’s remarks restated a “longtime assertion that, as long as he is in office, no journalist will be prosecuted or go to prison for performing ordinary news-gathering activities,” Kevin Johnson reports in USA Today.… Read more

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What the DOJ’s new guidelines mean for journalists

The U.S. Department of Justice’s new revised guidelines tightening government access to journalists’ records officially take effect this week. Yet the protections are not absolute, leaving some important exceptions in the hands of the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder to circumvent the safeguards, particularly when it comes to classified information deemed potentially harmful.

The guidelines specifically aim to shield journalists from “certain law enforcement tools,” the department noted, including subpoenas, court orders and search warrants that “might unreasonably impair ordinary newsgathering activities.” … Read more

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The sign that serves as the backdrop for press briefings at the Department of Justice is seen before a press conference Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006 in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

DOJ releases new rules about obtaining media orgs’ records

The New York Times | Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice Friday released new rules for how it will try to obtain records from journalists in the future. They “create a presumption that prosecutors generally will provide advance notice to the news media when seeking to obtain their communications records,” Charlie Savage reports.

The Justice Department didn’t win rave reviews last May, when news broke it had seized AP phone records without notifying the organization.… Read more

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James Risen asks Supreme Court to hear his case

The New York Times | Politico | The Washington Post

In a petition filed Monday, New York Times reporter James Risen asked the United States Supreme Court to hear his case, in which he asks not to be compelled to testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him.

An appeals court declined to hear Risen’s case in October.

“This case has been transformed into a potential constitutional showdown over the First Amendment and the role of the press in the United States because of the Obama Administration’s aggressive use of the powers of the government to try to rein in independent national security reporting,” Risen told Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan.… Read more

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DOJ agreement should clear way for Gannett-Belo deal, companies say

Gannett | Department of Justice | The New York Times

Gannett Co. and Belo Corp. announced Monday that they have reached an agreement with the Department of Justice that should clear the way for Gannett to purchase Belo as announced in June.

The $1.5 billion sale and assumption of $715 million in Belo debt would expand Gannett’s TV holdings from 23 to 43 stations, the media companies said last summer.

The proposed agreement emerged at the same time as the filing of a civil antitrust lawsuit Monday in the District of Columbia’s U.S. District Court to block Gannett’s acquisition of Belo. The agreement — which would resolve the concerns alleged in the lawsuit — would require Gannett and third-party operator Sander Media LLC to divest themselves of Belo-owned KMOV-TV.… Read more

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Former FBI agent pleads guilty to helping AP, possessing child porn

Indianapolis Star | The Huffington Post

Donald John Sachtleben has signed plea agreements in two cases: One for possessing child pornography and another in which he’s accused of giving information about a terror plot to “a reporter from a national news organization.” Sachtleben, a bomb technician who worked at the FBI as a contractor after he retired in 2008, passed on the information to a reporter nine days before feds filed the child porn charges, Jill Disis reports.

Last May, the government developed an intense interest in the Associated Press’ sources for a story that detailed how the CIA stopped a bomb plot in Yemen. It secretly obtained phone records from AP reporters and editors, an action that started a national conversation about how the government should interact with journalists who receive leaked information.… Read more

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DOJ asks for more information about Gannett-Belo deal

Gannett

Gannett and Belo “received requests yesterday for additional information and documents” from the Department of Justice, Gannett says in a press release. Gannett announced in June it would buy Belo for $1.5 billion, nearly doubling the number of TV stations it owns.

This so-called “Second Request” is a “standard part of the DOJ review process,” Gannett says, adding that it still expects to close the deal by the end of 2013.

Some petitioners filed requests with the FCC opposing the deal; the Department of Justice recently filed a motion to block a proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways.… Read more

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White House uses embargoes as yet another way to drive reporters crazy

The Washington Post

The White House “uses embargoes mainly to try to manage the news,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker tells Paul Farhi.

“It will put out some small scrap of information, usually previewing an event to be held the next day, and embargo it to 6 a.m. That way it can help drive coverage starting at the beginning of the day on the morning shows and Web sites. It’s a way of trying to manipulate the fast currents of the modern news cycle.”

Baker also says the White House never “asks if we agree to an embargo. They’re just sent out to mass e-mail lists with the assumption that if we receive it, we agree to it.”… Read more

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Poll: Americans support Snowden, would like to see him prosecuted

Time | South China Morning Post | Reuters | The Huffington Post

54 percent of Americans believe Edward Snowden “did a ‘good thing’” by exposing government surveillance programs, a new Time poll says. 53 percent nonetheless “said he should be prosecuted for the leak,” Zeke J. Miller reports.

58 percent of Democrats said they approved of the snooping. Only 39 percent of Republicans said the same. 74 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of independents said they were following the story closely; 58 percent of Democrats said the same. Among people who followed the news closely, 56 percent approve of Snowden’s decision to leak the information.

Time’s new cover shows Snowden alongside Bradley Manning and Aaron Swartz:… Read more

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Jill Abramson, Susan Chira

Abramson, Woodward & Brokaw speak out about DOJ media investigations

Face the Nation | Meet the Press

In a “Face the Nation” interview about the Department of Justice investigating journalists, The New York Times’ Jill Abramson said “the process of newsgathering is being criminalized.”

The First Amendment is first for a reason. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison thought it was crucial for our country to have a free and robust press to help keep the government accountable. And that’s the job that Times reporters and other reporters here in Washington are trying so hard to do.

Abramson said she’s not sure people outside of Washington, D.C., are as concerned with the leak investigation as they are with other political issues, such as rising health care costs and the economy. But, she said, some important people have gotten involved: … Read more

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