After Washington Post, CNN alleges Trump of spying on reporters

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: May 22, 2021, 08:44 AM(IST)

Former US President Donald Trump (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

This letter has once again amplified the aggressive nature followed by the Trump administration to keep an eye on the reporters who were trying to uncover the links between the former president and the Russian government

Following an earlier allegation of the former US President, Donald Trump, spying on Washington post journalists who were reporting on allegations of Russian meddling in the US presidential election 2016, another media house has backed this claim.

American media house, CNN, has alleged the Trump administration of obtaining phone and email records of a network reporter who was covering the Pentagon at the time Trump was in the White House.

Also read | Trump administration secretly obtained phone records of reporters: Reports

The justice department informed CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr that the department has dug out two months of phone and email records for the time period of June 01 to July 31, 207.

As per the letter, the justice department has also seized Starr’s CNN Pentagon booth number, Pentagon extension number, her home number and also her cellphone number, in addition to her work and personal email address.

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The records have been seized even though the reported is protected by the first amendment.

"CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist’s correspondence, which is clearly protected by the first amendment,” CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, said in a statement. "We are asking for an immediate meeting with the justice department for an explanation."

This letter has once again amplified the aggressive nature followed by the Trump administration to keep an eye on the reporters who were trying to uncover the links between the former president and the Russian government, and its involvement in the US election 2016.

A few weeks ago, the Washington Post has claimed that the Justice Department has sent letters to three reporters — Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, and former Post reporter Adam Entous —and informed them that the department had received work, cell, or home phone records for the period of April 15, 2017, to July 31, 2017.

While the justice department claims to have followed all "established procedures" with respect to the requests made, this has raised questions about the freedom of the press in the country.

"This is a big story that just got bigger," Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement. "That a journalist from another news organization had communications records seized by the Trump justice department suggests that the last administration’s efforts to intrude into reporter-source relationships and chill newsgathering is more sweeping than we originally thought."

The current US President, Joe Biden, has openly condemned the acts of the justice department under the Trump administration and has said, "it’s simply, simply wrong. I will not let that happen".

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