Holder is Ordered to Review the Rules on Media Subpoenas
Attorney General Eric Holder was told on Thursday that he must meet with media organizations and review how the Justice Department handles investigations into leaked information.
President Obama, speaking at the National Defense University, requested that Mr. Holder report back to him with his findings by mid-July.
Mr. Obama used the opportunity to talk about the controversy over leak investigations, saying that, while some information must remain secret, there is a need for investigative journalism.
The speech came 10 days after it was revealed that the DoJ secretly got hold of records of 20 phone calls made by journalists working for the Associated Press.
The subpoena for the records was part of a lengthy probe into the leaking of classified information about a failed al-Qaeda plot last year.
Days later it emerged that the DoJ tracked Fox News Channel reporter James Rosen’s movements and obtained a search warrant to comb through his personal emails.
Mr. Obama said: "As commander in chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field. To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information. But a free press is also essential for our democracy."
The chance to meet Mr. Holder has been welcomed by news organizations.
Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told the Washington Post: "It’s been an astonishing couple of weeks because of the disclosures that have come out, not just about DOJ subpoena policy but also about its willingness to pursue journalists’ records through search warrants.
"Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law."
While the President did not specifically name any cases, he said the administration’s focus in leak investigations should on government officials who release classified information, not on reporters.
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