Days after the secret subpoenas for phone records of the Associated Press came to light, the Obama administration announced it wants to make it easier for journalists to get similar subpoenas dropped by way of the Free Flow of Information Act, according to the New York Times.
That act was brought up in the Senate back in 2009 but “never received a vote,” according to the Times, and if passed, would address both journalists trying to shield anonymous sources and journalists trying to keep people from getting phone record subpoenas.
It “would provide greater protections to reporters from penalties for refusing to identify confidential sources, and that would enable journalists to ask a federal judge to quash subpoenas for their phone records.” The Times noted that
“It is not clear whether such a law would have changed the outcome of the subpoena involving The A.P. But it might have reduced the chances that the Justice Department would have demanded the records in secret, without any advance notice to the news organization, and it may have allowed a judge to review whether the scope of the request was justified by the facts.”
In light of the White House’s decision to support the bill, The New York Daily News noted that President Obama “co-sponsored a similar bill as a senator in 2007, but his administration opposed the next iteration in 2009, citing leaks that pose a threat to national security.”
(Read more about the proposed bill over at the Times)