In 2017, the US Department of Justice secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters. The newspaper reported this on Wednesday (local time).
The Trump administration tried to trace the sources of the newspaper’s journalists in this way.
The filing of phone records took place over four months, from January 14 to April 30, as part of an investigation into a leak surrounding Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
News media and free speech advocates in the United States have long been critical of attempts by US governments to access journalists’ communications data to detect leaks. According to critics, this would unjustifiably curtail press freedom.
President Joe Biden said last month, after revealing the seizures to The Washington Post and CNN, that he would never allow such actions by the Justice Department during his reign. He called it “simply wrong.”
Baquet appreciates Biden’s promise, he says in his statement, but he is still demanding a statement from the Justice Department about the seizure. He also wants to know what steps are being taken to prevent such an invasion of journalists’ privacy from happening again.