(RepublicanNews.org) – The United States government coined the slogan, “Loose lips sink ships,” as part of a nationwide effort to prevent sensitive information from being leaked to the nation’s enemies during World War II. Loose lips can also sink administrations and jeopardize national security.
Concerned about both possible outcomes, the Department of Justice (DOJ) secretly obtained the phone records of four reporters who worked for The New York Times, according to a June 2 admission by the Biden administration. Those records covered a roughly three-month time frame in 2017, beginning in mid-January and ending on April 30.
This news comes in the wake of recent revelations that the Trump administration also seized the email and phone records of multiple reporters from The Washington Post and one CNN reporter.
Why the Seizures? Why the Secrecy?
Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley said the department contacted the New York Times reporters and advised them of the seizure. He also notified them that the DOJ obtained their phone toll records and attempted to access their non-content email records as a part of an ongoing “criminal investigation” looking into the “unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”
The New York Times reported that all four of its reporters wrote extensively about James Comey, the FBI director at the time of the seizures. That suggests the investigation was related to finding leaks related to an April 22, 2017, article discussing Comey’s handling of politically-based investigations during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Dean Baquet, the executive director for The New York Times, lashed out at the news. “Seizing the phone records” of reporters seriously “undermines press freedom,” he said, adding that it “threatens to silence” sources reporters rely on to obtain “essential information” regarding government activity.
This situation clearly raises concerns regarding the rights of a free press versus those of national security. Reporters have gone to prison for leaking classified information in the past, although that’s extremely rare and does not appear to apply in this instance.
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