The American newspaper “The New York Times” has denounced that the last two US governments have attempted to appropriate the contents of the emails of four of their journalists in order to find out their sources, in continuation of similar efforts with the “Washington Post” . “And the CNN chain.
The Justice Department has not explained what it is investigating, but the identities of the four reporters suggest it is referring to classified information in an April 2017 article regarding the investigation made by now-former FBI Director James Comey during the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s administrations imposed a gag order against top media executives, according to attorney David McCraw, which was finally overturned on Friday. The gag order prevented executives from disclosing government efforts to confiscate the records, even to editor-in-chief Dean Baquet and other newsroom officials.
The initiative came to light after a final, ultimately unsuccessful, attempt by the Department of Justice to seize email records from Google, which operates the Times email system and resisted any attempt to obtain the information.
The disclosure came two days after Biden’s Justice Department had informed the four journalists that the Trump administration had secretly confiscated months of their phone records in search of their sources, as was the case with the “Post” and CNN.
Baquet has rejected the behavior of the Trump and Biden administrations for their actions, calling the operation an attack on the First Amendment. “Google did the right thing, but we shouldn’t have reached that point,” he complained.
The Biden administration has tried to delay execution of the order “several times in the past few months” and then acted voluntarily to withdraw it before it was recorded on court records, “Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley told in a statement to the newspaper in which he reaffirmed the White House’s commitment to freedom of the press.