Obama Calls for Review of Admin Investigations of Journalists
President Obama said journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs in remarks given in Washington at the National Defense University on Thursday. This comes after the administration has come under fire recently amid revelations that AP phone records were seized by the DOJ, as well as those of Fox News executives and journalists.
"The Justice Department's investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society. As Commander-in Chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field. To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information. But a free press is also essential for our democracy. That's who we are, and I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable."
He acknowledged that the government's focus should be on journalists who break the law in their investigative efforts.
"Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law. That is why I have called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government over-reach. I have raised these issues with the Attorney General, who shares my concern. So he has agreed to review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters, and will convene a group of media organizations to hear their concerns as part of that review. And I have directed the Attorney General to report back to me by July 12."