The Trump Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of four New York Times reporters as part of a leak investigation, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.
It is the third instance over the last month in which a news media organisation has disclosed that federal authorities seized the records of its journalists in an effort to identify sources for national security stories published during President Donald Trump’s administration.
President Joe Biden has said he would not allow the Justice Department to continue the practice of obtaining reporters’ records, calling it “simply, simply wrong.”
Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the department notified the four reporters on Wednesday that it had obtained their phone records last year and that it had sought to obtain non-content email records as part of “a criminal investigation into the unauthorised disclosure of classified information.”
The newspaper said the records that were seized covered a nearly four-month period in 2017 and belonged to reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt. Mr. Lichtblau has since left the newspaper.
The journalists are neither the subjects nor the targets of the investigation, Mr. Coley said.
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