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The Freedom Flow of Information Act would protect journalists from punishment if they decline to identify confidential sources in federal law enforcement proceedings

The Obama administration wants to create a federal media shield law by bringing an old bill back to life. 

Ed Pagano, President Obama’s Senate liaison, called Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday morning to inquire about a version of a 2009 bill called the Freedom Flow of Information Act. 

The Freedom Flow of Information Act would protect journalists from punishment if they decline to identify confidential sources in federal law enforcement proceedings. It would also allow journalists to ask a federal judge to destroy subpoenas for their phone records.

The bill would provide different levels of protection for journalists. Civil cases would receive the greatest protection, criminal cases would be similar (except the reporter would have to try and abolish the subpoena through a “clear and convincing” standard showing that the free flow of information is more important than the needs of law enforcement) and national security cases would lean in favor of the government. 

There were a couple of different versions of the bill, but the Obama administration is looking to recover the one supported by Schumer. It was jointly created by the newspaper industry and the White House, and even approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan 15-to-4 vote in December 2009. However, issues with Wikileaks exposing confidential government information on the internet put the bill on hold.

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder

The decision to bring this bill back to life comes amid controversy surrounding the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) subpoena to retrieve calling records of Associated Press reporters. 

DOJ used a subpoena (approved by Deputy James M. Cole) to obtain over 20 phone numbers from the Associated Press, including personal phones of AP editors/columnists and AP business phone numbers in New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Washington. 

Furthermore, the DOJ did this without any advance notice. This puts the Associated Press' other private sources at risk and violates freedom of the press.

The reason for the subpoena was related to an article in which an unnamed government official leaked an account of a failed May 2012 bomb plot on an aircraft flying into the U.S. -- which involved the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda.

“This kind of law would balance national security needs against the public’s right to the free flow of information," said Schumer in regards to the Freedom Flow of Information Act. "At minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case.”

Source: The New York Times

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RE: Damage control
By tayb on 5/16/2013 5:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and for eight years under Bush all we heard about was "tyranny and warmongering" and bla bla bla.

Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

You don't give a fuck about what the President is doing. Just admit it. You only care because he is a supposed big bad liberal who is ruining the country. Bush literally lied to the American people to help win support for a war that cost the United States trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and is STILL going on. Democrats called him a tyrant, Republicans called him a hero. Fast forward to present and the status quo remains unchanged yet here you sit bitching and moaning endlessly while Democrats sit silent. None of you dumbasses actually care about what is happening you only care about championing the party or political ideology you support.

People ignore you as a far right blowhard because you are a far right blowhard. You can't talk politics without blaming every single thing on a Democratic President who doesn't have nearly as much power as you think he does. For fucks sake the Republicans control the House and pass all kinds of batshit crazy unconstitutional shit literally monthly. You don't care about this because in reality you don't give a shit about politics you care about ideologies. You are anti-Democrat.

I'm so fucking sick and tired of seeing people such as yourself bash Democrats while raising up the alternative. There is no alternative. Democrat in office, Republican in office, the outcome is the exact same goddamn thing.

RE: Damage control
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/13, Rating: 0
RE: Damage control
By Spuke on 5/16/2013 6:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah, this is gonna be goooood.

RE: Damage control
By DigitalFreak on 5/16/2013 7:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
"I would think at this point it would be hard for anyone with half a brain to support the goals of the Democrat party."

I would think at this point it would be hard for anyone with half a brain to support the goals of EITHER party.

RE: Damage control
By anactoraaron on 5/16/2013 10:27:24 PM , Rating: 1
Uhh can you please list some of these "crazy" things the House has somehow passed? For five years anything the House has passed has been veto-bait for Obama, but okay, I'll play along.

I would call the 37 attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) both bat-sh1t crazy and incredibly wasteful. I thought this was the party of cutting big government waste? How much money does each of these pointless votes cost taxpayers? I say 'pointless' as there will never ever even be a bill in front of the president to veto yet they keep trying and wasting time and taxpayer money anyway.

Sure, for party ideological reasons try to repeal it 2 or 3 times to show that you're opposed to it and then GET BACK TO DOING YOUR ELECTED JOB. 37 times... omfg

RE: Damage control
By Ammohunt on 5/16/2013 9:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
Had enough then? eventually we may see which ideology has the balls to put up or shutup. Marxist socialists have no place in this country try cuba.

RE: Damage control
By ven1ger on 5/16/2013 10:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
Do you really know what a Marxist Socialist is? Not sure if you're just spouting words from Fox News or if you really know what it is.

Even I don't really know what a Marxist Socialist is supposed to be, given what Fox News is spouting. What came about in Russia was a twisted version of Karl Marx ideals, otherwise known as Marxist. Most countries that I know of have socialist values, where the strong help the weak, in times of disasters others help the distress, etc., even in the US we have social programs so if you don't like social programs then maybe you're in the wrong country.

Go ahead, please lay down your definition so I can relate to what you're saying.

RE: Damage control
By anactoraaron on 5/16/2013 10:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
"Marxist Socialist"

- Noun. Defined as the current American bogeyman for conservatives. Also see wealth redistribution.

Funny, as wealth redistribution works wonders on all levels of an economic scale and it is vital to the success of any society. It means paying employees (that's a form of wealth redistribution!), which relates to further economic growth.

Back on topic, it's funny to me how Obama has changed his tone about this, funny because he's the one that has been targeting press sources. Now that it's gone public (it has been going on for 5 years) he's there to step in and say "I will create a bill to stop things like this (that I did) from happening again.

Major league hypocrisy from both parties.

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