CNN reporter’s phone and email records secretly obtained by Trump administration: report
CNN reported on Thursday that the Trump administration had secretly obtained the phone and email records of its Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
According to the outlet, the Department of Justice (DOJ) informed Starr on May 13 that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records from June 1 to July 31, 2017.
The letter from the DOJ reportedly listed both Starr’s personal and work-related email addresses and phone numbers.
A DOJ official told CNN that Starr was never the subject of an investigation and confirmed that the records were sought through the courts last year.
It was not made clear when the search for Starr’s records was ordered or whether it occurred when former U.S. attorneys general William Barr or Jeff Sessions were in office.
“CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment,” CNN President Jeff Zucker said. “We are asking for an immediate meeting with the Justice Department for an explanation.”
After CNN’s report was published, Starr wrote on Twitter, “These were my records.”
These were my records. https://t.co/ZKKhkPHeC3
— Barbara Starr (@barbarastarrcnn) May 20, 2021
The Hill has reached out to the DOJ for further information.
CNN notes that Washington Post reporters who covered the FBI’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia were also informed earlier this month that the DOJ had obtained their phone records from 2017. In 2018, the department also disclosed that it had obtained 2017 phone and email records of reporters from BuzzFeed News, Politico and The New York Times, CNN reports.
It was revealed in court documents unsealed on Monday that the Trump administration had also subpoenaed Twitter for information on an account that parodied Trump ally Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)
“It appears to Twitter that the Subpoena may be related to Congressman Devin Nunes’s repeated efforts to unmask individuals behind parody accounts critical of him,” the motion read. “His efforts to suppress critical speech are as well-publicized as they are unsuccessful.”
Twitter had asked a federal judge to throw the subpoena out, arguing it raised First Amendment concerns.
The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it had withdrawn the subpoena earlier this year.
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