Trump administration secretly obtained phone records of reporters: Reports

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: May 08, 2021, 10:11 AM(IST)

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Story highlights

Justice Department sent letters to three reporters and informed them that they had received work, cell, or home phone records for the period of April 15, 2017, to July 31, 2017

A US national daily has claimed that the Trump administration had secretly obtained the phone records of a specific media house's journalists.

The accusation on former US President, Donald Trump, has been made by the Washington Post that claims Trump used his power and resources to spy on journalists who were reporting on allegations of Russian meddling in the US presidential election 2016.

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Post claims 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.

This has raised concerns over the issue of freedom of speech in the US, especially under the Trump administration. "When the government spies on journalists and their sources, it jeopardizes freedom of the press," the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

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Washington Post was "deeply troubled by this use of government power to seek access to the communications of journalist," acting executive editor Cameron Barr was quoted as saying.

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Pointing out the importance of the First Amendment, Barr added, "The Department of Justice should immediately make clear its reasons for this intrusion into the activities of reporters doing their jobs, an activity protected under the First Amendment."

The Justice Department, however, claims to have followed all "established procedures" with respect to the requests made. However, the department has also not specified the reason behind seizing these records.

Meanwhile, Post has revealed that a major mutual connection between the targeted journalists is that the three had written a story on how Jeff Sessions — who filled the post of attorney general in the Trump administration — had discussed the Trump campaign with the Russian ambassador, and another story on the steps taken by the Obama administration to counter the Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

No official statement has yet been received from Donald Trump or his campaign.

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