In an apparent effort to tamp down on leaks, the New York Police Department subpoenaed a New York Post reporter’s Twitter data, oddly citing a post-9/11 anti-terrorism law to try to force the tech company to comply, the Post reports. The legal papers, requesting electronic information associated with Post Police Bureau Chief Tina Moore’s Twitter account, was dated Dec. 9, 2019, less than two weeks after Commissioner Dermot Shea took the reins of the police department. NYPD withdrew the subpoena on Wednesday after Post lawyers contacted the department.
The legal maneuvering comes amid a push to stop the flow of information to the press. On Monday, the NYPD suspended two officers who accessed and shared videos from Sunday’s dramatic shooting inside a Bronx police station, which eventually made their way to the media. Earlier, the department changed its patrol guide to crack down on videos and information being shared with the press. The new guidelines specifically note that cops can be disciplined if screenshots or videos of police footage leaks out, even unintentionally. “We are conducting an investigation of a person who leaked crime scene photos,” a police official said when asked about the subpoena. “Tina Moore was never the focus of our investigation.” Legal experts called the NYPD’s subpoena of a journalist’s Twitter data an “abuse of authority” and “George Orwell-level shocking.” Former Manhattan prosecutor Andrew Stengel said, “There are absolutely no grounds for a police department to subpoena the social media records of a journalist.”