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

Right before the Snowden leaks came out, you may recall there were some other controversies, involving the DOJ spying on reporters, including claiming that reporter James Rosen was an "aider, abettor or co-conspirator" in order to get access to his emails and phone records. In response to this controversy, President Obama... put Attorney General Eric Holder in charge of investigating these efforts, despite the fact that it was under Eric Holder's watch that these things happened.

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.

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...
According to that report at the NY Times, the DOJ also said that it can't do any more unless laws are changed:
“This is as far as the department can go on its own until Congress passes the media shield legislation,” the Justice Department official said
That'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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    ranpel, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:30pm

    What?

    The Department of Trust Us.

    The Department of Back of Bus.

    The Department of Weed Bust.

    The Department of dog killing, freedom chilling, zap chap villain cunts with misappropriated and maligned authority.

    What do you call it when the law is lawless? The authority of enforcing the rule of law is completely out of fucking control. Completely.

    I blame lawmakers.

    And nobody is held to account, at all. Do these guys expect me to give a fuck? Fuck you! I'm smoking it.

     

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    Guardian, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    this is quickly becoming a reason to ask for UN sanctions

    this is quickly becoming a reason to ask for UN sanctions iranian style to show you what its like to MESS WITH HUMANITY.....

    330 million people in the usa 7.1 billion on earth did i vote for this bullshit NOT living in the usa..NOPE, did i ask to be peeping tomed on ....NOPE...

    you Americans are one fucked up nation ....and i don't see it working out for a long time, cause your chicken shit to fix the fucking problem....YOUR GOD DAMN MILITARY MACHINE...

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 4:48pm

    Hmmm...

    "That'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."

    "They're more like guidelines anyway."
    - Mr. Gibbs, Pirates of the Caribbean


    That line immediately popped into my head while reading this.

     

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    identicon
    Paul, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 5:28pm

    Historically, no matter what they say, it will be a lie. I do not trust them. They are all criminals and they need to arrested, convicted, locked up naked in solitary confinement and the key thrown away.

     

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    rhizome (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 6:28pm

    Note that these guidelines purport to define "real journalists," which does not include bloggers. Sucks to be the internet, I guess.

     

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    identicon
    Pixelation, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:18pm

    "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... "

    Harder as in two phone calls instead of one?

    I must be a bit jaded.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 7:54pm

    why ALMOST immediately?

    Are they doing the same thing right now?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    they have no need to intrude on the journalists emails and phone records because the nsa is doing it for them

     

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      McCrea (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 11:40pm

      Re:

      yes, but the nsa is only collecting metadata, but it's the FEDs that have access to the recorded calls, right?

      Separation of power in order to reduce liability or something like that.

       

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 15th, 2013 @ 5:38am

    Heh, reminds me of a scene where the space mariner newbie asks the captain if charging by themselves into a huge swarm of aliens wouldn't be against their Codex. The captain answers: "The Codex are only guidelines son. Stay here if you so wish." or something like that.

    Personally I think the Govt sees the Constitution now as mere guidelines.

     

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