DOJ: Now That We've Been Embarrassed For Spying On Journalists, We'll Be A Little More Careful
from the until-congress-says-otherwise dept
In response, the DOJ is apparently revamping its guidelines to make it slightly more difficult for them to do what they already did:
The new guidelines, which the official said would take effect almost immediately, would prevent the Federal Bureau of Investigation from portraying a reporter as a co-conspirator in a criminal leak as a way to get around a legal bar on secret search warrants for reporting materials, as an agent did in a recently revealed search warrant affidavit involving a Fox News reporter.According to that report at the NY Times, the DOJ also said that it can't do any more unless laws are changed:
They would also make it harder — though not impossible — for prosecutors to obtain a journalist’s calling records from telephone companies without giving news organizations advance notice...
“This is as far as the department can go on its own until Congress passes the media shield legislation,” the Justice Department official saidThat's simply not true. The DOJ's guidelines are just that: guidelines. They can set pretty clear guidelines for themselves that make it clear that the DOJ will not spy on reporters' communications with sources. But they're choosing not to do so. Either way, all of this seems (yet again) like a reaction to them being called out on questionable behavior. They made no effort to fix these guidelines until what they were doing came out in the news. It's difficult to take the DOJ seriously when they promise to change after they've been caught.