FBI apologizes to newspapers for spying on reporters: the bureau does not explain the need to investigate journalists

first_img Follow the news on United States Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists RSF_en News to go further June 3, 2021 Find out more News United StatesAmericas Organisation center_img Reporters Without Borders requests that the FBI releases more informationabout the procedures they used in 2004 to obtain reporters’ phone recordswhile they were stationed at the New York Times and the Washington Post’sbureaus in Indonesia.Reporters Without Borders welcomes the apology the FBI made to thenewspapers’ editors for improperly using the so-called ‘exigent letters’ toobtain information about reporters’ phone conversations, but the bureauneeds to come forward and provide more information as to why and how theyobtained this information.”We urge them to be transparent about the reasons to obtain the recordswith such urgency and secrecy,” the press freedom organization said.”We urged the bureau to refrain from using similar procedures in the future.Improper monitoring of reporters is harmful to a free press and undermines the free flow of information”New York Times reporters Ray Bonner and Jane Perlezy, and Washington Poststaff writer Ellen Nakashima and researcher Natasha Tampubolon were workingin South East Asia on a story about Islamic terrorism at the time theirphone records were seized.The Justice Department’s Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, who is reviewingthe FBI’s procedures due to allege misuse of records demands, discoveredmistakes the bureau made when phone records were requested. For instance,the FBI should have seek approval from the deputy attorney general, whichthey did not in this case.The federal shield law passed by the House, the Free Flow of Information Act (FFOIA), states that a member of the media, or“covered person,” cannot be subpoenaed for a testimony unless dictated by acourt. Section 2.(a)(1) of the FFOIA defines one of the exception to ordera member of the media to testify as “… that the party seeking to compelproduction of such testimony or document has exhausted all reasonablealternative sources (other than a covered person) of the testimony ordocument.”The FBI has not disclosed yet why they went after journalists’ phonerecords or the nature of the investigation at the time.On Saturday, The Washington Post stated, “Mueller (Director of the FBI) called the top editors (at each paper) to express regret that agents had not followed properprocedures when they sought telephone records under a process that allowedthem to bypass grand jury review in emergency cases.”“Exigent letters,” or National Security Letter (NSL), are sent toindividuals or entities ordering to provide data or records to securitygovernment agencies such as the FBI or the CIA. The NSL, a form ofadministrative subpoena, does not require a judicial oversight and it alsocontains a gag order banning the recipient from ever disclosing that theNSL was issued.Senators Arlen Spector (R-Pa.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) also issued aletter on Monday, August 11th, pressing the FBI to come forward with moreinformation and an explanation about obtaining reporters’ phone records.“While we commend you for personally apologizing to the newspapers onbehalf of the FBI, and for personally bringing this matter to theCommittee’s attention, we expect to receive a more complete accounting ofthis violation of the Justice Department’s guidelines intended to protectprivacy and journalists’ First Amendment rights,” the senators wrote in aletter addressed to FBI Director Robert Mueller. News June 7, 2021 Find out more News United StatesAmericas August 13, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 FBI apologizes to newspapers for spying on reporters: the bureau does not explain the need to investigate journalists Receive email alerts April 28, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information last_img

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