Eric Holder Officially Signs New Rules To Protect Journalists... But Fine Print Shows They're Meaningless

from the that's-a-mighty-big-loophole-you've-got-there dept

Last summer, after there were a few different revelations (pre-Snowden) of the DOJ using questionable means to spy on journalists -- including pretending one reporter was a co-conspirator in order to get his records -- Attorney General Eric Holder promised new rules that would be marginally more respectful of protecting journalists. While recent reports have suggested that these new guidelines were considered official policy in the DOJ for the past few months, last week they were officially signed by Holder.

As expected, the rules do suggest a slight nod towards respecting the privacy of journalists who are engaged in "ordinary news-gathering activities" but leaves open plenty of loopholes. The biggest, by far, is noted by Marcy Wheeler, who points out that the new rules don't cover FISA warrants or National Security letters. In other words, the DOJ can still make use of the massively abused process of national security letters (NSLs) to go on fishing expeditions against journalists. As Wheeler notes, this means that the new guidelines are "worth approximately shit in any leak -- that is, counterintelligence -- investigation."

The whole thing is a joke, but the problem is that the idea of a free and open press is the punchline.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 24th, 2014 @ 8:38am

    It's not a joke, it's dead serious. I'd guess it's a matter of time till we see the US Govt openly attacking journalists that criticize them. Of course that's one of the current issues and this regression concerning free speech is not exclusive to the US but I'd argue that it's happening at a faster and much more intense pace.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    Ninja (profile), Feb 24th, 2014 @ 8:38am

    It's not a joke, it's dead serious. I'd guess it's a matter of time till we see the US Govt openly attacking journalists that criticize them. Of course that's one of the current issues and this regression concerning free speech is not exclusive to the US but I'd argue that it's happening at a faster and much more intense pace.


    We now openly accept the dregs of oppressed societies. Think south of the border for now. As we slowly but surely replace the population of a "Free Thinking People" with oppressed people looking for government handouts the easier it becomes for these administrations to destroy liberty. As long as people are getting their paychecks they are happy to let their benefactor have more power.

    After all, they are getting something from it right?

     

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  3.  
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    jackn, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re:

    You are not qualified to participate in adult conversations.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 12:03pm

    Waldo Press

    Where is the Press?
    Spewing WH talking points.

    Why are they "protecting" this administration?
    Because most of the press are of the same "progressive"/liberal mindset - "We are 5 days away from Fundamentally Transforming the United States of America". Obama on Oct 31st, 2008.

    Is this the "Change We Need" as his signs stated?
    No

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    jackn, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re:
    You are not qualified to participate in adult conversations.

    Refusing to understand human nature does not make one an adult. It really is not hard to connect all of the dots and takes a willful ignorance to ignore them.

    Flood any Culture with enough of another and you will see them fight and if possible 1 culture will decimate the other. The LA riots over a stupid game tells more that enough about how human does only one thing. Forms groups and fights the others. Look at world history for proof eternal.

     

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  6.  
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    jackn, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    keep it on topic, kiddo.

     

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  7.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 24th, 2014 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Waldo Press

    Seriously, 'liberal press'? Aiming for funniest of the week are we?

    As far as the MSM goes, there's 'conservative' and 'slightly less conservative', and that's about it these days.

     

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  8.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 24th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your understanding of human nature is far too oversimplified and therefore inaccurate.

     

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  9.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 24th, 2014 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Waldo Press

    He's probably using the popular definition of "liberal" amongst a certain crowd, meaning "anything I disagree with".

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 3:01pm

    If you're a journalist or a source, then you had better use DeadDrop/SecureDrop/StrongBox. Otherwise all your unconstitutionally seized metadata, will be unconstitutionally searched through and used against you, via parallel construction, in a court of law.

    No piece of legislation, guidelines, policies, secret memos, or pinky swears, will protect us from unconstitutional electronic spying. It's a permanent way of life now.

    These are simply the facts. To refuse the facts, leaves you open to a world full of hurt, imprisonment, or a Hellfire missile being shoved up your ass. Via an unmanned drone flying around, acting as judge, jury, and executioner.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    jackn, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:
    keep it on topic, kiddo.

    Did someone offend the segue police?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2014 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your understanding of human nature is far too oversimplified and therefore inaccurate.

    No never mind to the entire history of the human race?
    Sun Tzu in "The Art of War" has a part on what I alluded too.

    "2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

    Allowing the ingress of illegal immigrants which do not join the culture will result in the annihilation or subjugation of said nation, without anyone having to fire a bullet because it was done through the election process. Even though shots were fired, look what happened to the Native Americans... maybe you just subscribe to a world history not based in reality.

    Those non-citizens sure are tasty looking to a power hungry politician!

     

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  13.  
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    Graham (profile), Feb 25th, 2014 @ 1:09am

    Its almost exactly like something out of Yes Minister:

    We put the controversial bit in the title, so we don't have to deal with it in the text....

     

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  14.  
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    Jeff A. Taylor, Feb 25th, 2014 @ 5:49am

    It is a feature, not a bug

    Meaningless? No. This is designed to work exactly as intended -- continue to enable selective prosecution, selective prosecution going hand-in-hand with a network of government informants created by Snowden doc programs over the past decade.

    Now that EFF has gone down the legal cartel cul-de-sac, chances that we get any kind of sunshine on the topic of informants are fading fast.

     

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  15.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 25th, 2014 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Allowing the ingress of illegal immigrants which do not join the culture will result in the annihilation or subjugation of said nation"

    I'm always fascinated when I hear this claim, and don't understand an important part of it -- what do you mean by "annihilation or subjugation"? What would that look like?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Waldo Press

    Then why is there so little National(watch last Sunday's morning/evening news shows) coverage of the Constitutional abuses of this administration?
    You and your cronies are sucking up to the Progressives /liberals to cover up for the abuses.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Waldo Press

    Only a "Liberal" would call for stifling Free Speech.

    In the Harvard Crimson, Sandra Korn's article:
    "The Doctrine of Academic Freedom: Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice.”

    Its author, a Harvard undergraduate named Sandra Y.L. Korn, argued that the concept of academic freedom should be replaced by one of academic justice. “When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression,” she proposed, “it should ensure that this research does not continue.” To a large extent, of course, the American academy is already under the thumb of the left-wing Thought Police; Ms. Korn only wants to complete the job.

     

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  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 26th, 2014 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Waldo Press

    "Only a "Liberal" would call for stifling Free Speech."

    That's a knee slapper, right there!

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Waldo Press

    Please post the articles from any Libertarian/Conservative that rivals Sandra Korn's article posted in the Harvard Crimson calling to stifling other's opinions...loser...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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