National Security, Government 'Spin' and the First Amendment

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Last Friday, the Associated Press learned that the Justice Department had obtained records for more than 20 separate telephone lines" for reporters' office phones, home phones and cell phones. Despite regulations that require negotiations to protect First Amendment rights, the records were seized in secret. Politicians of both parties have jumped to defend the free press, and President Obama has renewed talk of a reporters’ shield law. Attorney General Eric Holder justified the seizure because "it put the American people at risk and that is not hyperbole." Was it really a case of national security or "spin" to control a story about the CIA infiltrating al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? Did the Obama administration intrude on a free press? Will the news media be able to protect the next "Deep Throat" in the digital age?




Warren Olney