The Department of Justice is considering changing a long-standing rule that required the department to provide media outlets with advance notice of a subpoena relating to media leaks. As it currently stands, the DOJ is required to provide advance notice to third parties who make be involved in an investigation relating to a leak to the media, The Daily Caller reported. The reason for the change is simple: it takes too long to thoroughly conduct investigations into the leaks, especially when national security is at risk.
This is what the current statute, which was put in place in the 1970s, says:
When the Attorney General has authorized the use of a subpoena, court order issued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2703(d) or 3123, or warrant to obtain from a third party communications records or business records of a member of the news media, the affected member of the news media shall be given reasonable and timely notice of the Attorney General’s determination before the use of the subpoena, court order, or warrant, unless the Attorney General determines that, for compelling reasons, such notice would pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, risk grave harm to national security, or present an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm.
The potential change comes after President Donald Trump instructed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to get to the bottom of leaks taking place at the DOJ.
“We respect the important role that the press plays, and we’ll give them respect, but it is not unlimited,” Sessions previously said, according to POLITICO. “They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press’ role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community, the armed forces and all law-abiding Americans.”
According to The Hill, the potential change stems from the number of media leaks that have taken place during the Trump administration.