The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

May 23, 2013

Obama: Policy in leaks investigations under review

Eds: Updates with details from speech.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Thursday that the Justice Department will review the policy under which it obtains journalists' records in investigations of the leak of government secrets.

Obama acknowledged he is "troubled by the possibility that leaks investigations may chill the investigative journalism" that he says holds government accountable and said he has expressed his concerns to Attorney General Eric Holder. But he said his administration would continue to try to find the government employees who are responsible for leaks.

In recent weeks, the administration has acknowledged secretly seizing portions of two months of phone records from The Associated Press and reading the e-mails of Fox News reporter James Rosen in separate investigations about the publication of government secrets.

The president said the government has to strike the right balance between security and an open society. He said Holder will meet with representatives of media organizations and report back to him by July 12.

Obama re-stated his support for a media shield law that he said would "guard against government overreach." Such a law would require a federal judge to sign off before investigators could have a look at the records of journalists.

"Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law," Obama said.

The seizure of the AP phone records apparently is part of an investigation into who leaked information to AP reporters for a May 7, 2012, story that disclosed details of a foiled plot in Yemen to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner, around the anniversary of the May 2, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden.

Rosen's emails were seized, with a judge's approval, as part of the prosecution of Stephen Kim, a State Department adviser who is accused of leaking secret information about North Korea.

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