"Garland Formally Bars Justice Dept. From Seizing Reporters’ Records"

"The rule codifies and expands a policy he issued in 2021, after it came to light that the Trump administration had secretly gone after records of reporters for The Times, The Washington Post and CNN."

"WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday formally banned the use of subpoenas, warrants or court orders to seize reporters’ communications records or demand their notes or testimony in an effort to uncover confidential sources in leak investigations, in what amounts to a major policy shift.

The rules institutionalize — and in places expand — a temporary policy that Attorney General Merrick B. Garland put in place in July 2021, after the revelation that the Justice Department, under Attorney General William P. Barr, had secretly pursued email records of reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.

“These regulations recognize the crucial role that a free and independent press plays in our democracy,” Mr. Garland said in a statement. “Because freedom of the press requires that members of the news media have the freedom to investigate and report the news, the new regulations are intended to provide enhanced protection to members of the news media from certain law enforcement tools and actions that might unreasonably impair news gathering.”

The broad prohibitions are a major change in how the Justice Department has come to approach leak investigations in the 21st century, when it began a crackdown that spans administrations of both parties and has put pressure on reporting on matters of national security."

Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times October 26, 2022.


Memo of October 26 to DOJ Employees (Office of Attorney General)

Prepublication Text: "Final Rule: Policy Regarding Obtaining Information From or Records of Members of the News Media; and Regarding Questioning, Arresting, or Charging Membersof the News Media" (Justice Dept.)

"New Justice Department Policy Marks ‘Historic Shift’ In Press Protection" (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)

"DOJ Double-Dribbles on Leak Subpoenas, As Probes Start " (WatchDog)

"A Report Card on Transparency in the Biden Administration" (WatchDog)


Source: NYTimes, 10/27/2022