Obama: Holder to review DOJ guidelines on leak investigations

President Obama announced Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder would launch a review into the Justice Department’s (DOJ) targeting of journalists who report on classified information.

{mosads}The move comes amid criticism of the DOJ’s seizure of records belonging to The Associated Press and Fox News, as well as the labeling of James Rosen, a journalist at the network, as a criminal “con-conspirator” in a legal document used to seize personal emails.

The president said he was “troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable,” and had expressed that concern to Holder.

The attorney general, in turn, agreed to review Justice Department guidelines governing leak investigations and meet with a group of media organizations. Obama said that the Justice Department would present him with a report on media targeting by July 12.

“Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs,” Obama said. “Our focus must be on those who break the law.”

Earlier this month, the AP said the Justice Department had seized records from some 20 phone lines used by journalists and editors who worked on a story related to a foiled terror plot.

The Fox News controversy dated back to Justice Department actions in 2010, but court documents labeling Rosen as a “co-conspirator” were only released recently.

The president also reiterated his call for Congress to pass a new media shield law that would allow journalists to challenge the subpoena of phone records and provide greater protections against criminal prosecution.

But Obama also stressed the need to thoroughly investigate national security leaks.

“We must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field. To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information,” Obama said.

The president’s remarks came amid an hour-long speech detailing his second-term counterterrorism policies.

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