Attorney General signs new rules to limit access to journalists’ records

n13-iconThe New York Times reports: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who drew fire last spring over the Justice Department’s aggressive tactics for secretly obtaining reporters’ phone logs and emails as part of leak investigations, on Friday signed new guidelines narrowing the circumstances in which law enforcement officials may obtain journalists’ records.

The rules, which will be published in the Federal Register next week, carry out a set of changes that Mr. Holder announced last July and described in a six-page report at the time. A preamble described the revisions as intended to ensure that the department “strikes the proper balance among several vital interests,” like protecting national security and “safeguarding the essential role of the free press in fostering government accountability and an open society.”

Among other things, the rules create a presumption that prosecutors generally will provide advance notice to the news media when seeking to obtain their communications records. [Continue reading…]

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