The Administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is under fire for investigating journalists and media outlets for reporting classified information. Government authorities acquired e-mails written by Fox News Reporter James Rosen and followed his “movements” because he reported classified information about North Korea.
Government authorities also obtained the phone records of 20 phone lines of Associated Press reporters.Free press advocates claim that the Obama Administration is preventing the press from serving as a government “watchdog.”One Republican critic, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, argued that the government should investigate illegal leaks by government officials, but not the reporters who publish the information. The media is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, according to Rubio.
The President of the Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, claims that the actions of the administration are preventing journalists from obtaining information from sources because of fears that the government may investigate them.The U.S. Department of Justice insists that it has no plans to file charges against journalists for publishing classified information. Last week, however, the U.S. president said that the government must “balance” the rights of journalists with the safety of the military and intelligence officers.
It is not common for the U.S. Government to take legal action against journalists for reporting information. The Obama Administration has filed criminal cases against more members of the news media than all other U.S. presidential administrations combined.
(Edited from Detroit Free Press)