Holder to Tighten DOJ Rules on Criminal Probes Involving News Media


Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled today to deliver a report to President Obama on proposed changes to Justice Department guidelines on criminal investigations that involve the news media, Politico reports. As controversy swirled this year over criminal leak investigations that included seizure of records of Associated Press phone calls and a search of an e-mail account of Fox News reporter James Rosen, Obama said Holder would review DOJ’s internal rules governing prosecutors’ efforts seek information from the press. Current policy requires the Attorney General’s approval when prosecutors seek to force testimony from a reporter or obtain a journalist’s “telephone toll records.” Holder is expected to broaden that to cover reporters’ e-mails and other records. The report also is expected to require more internal approvals for such requests, including from Justice’s public affairs office. That has been customary at DOJ for years, but was not rigorously followed in some cases in the George W. Bush administration or in the recent AP case.

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