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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 ven1ger on 5/16/2013 5:06:30 PM , Rating: -1
Where has it been debunked? In your own mind?

So what was the reason for the invasion of Iraq? Weapons of Mass Destruction? Links to Al Qaeda? All of the reasons for going to war with Iraq were debunked. It was an illegal war, because the reasons for the invasion were hyped up or faked by the Bush administration.

If you're referring to Afghanistan, I've never said that it was illegal and I supported the invasion of Afghanistan, I've never supported the invasion of Iraq.

I've lost many friends in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the friends that I lost in Iraq was unforgivable and I believe that Bush and his administration was responsible for the deaths of the servicemen fighting in Iraq. We have Bush to thank for allowing Iran to becoming a stronger figure in the middle east because we knocked out their natural enemy, Iraq.

RE: Damage control
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/13, Rating: -1
RE: Damage control
By ven1ger on 5/16/13, Rating: 0
RE: Damage control
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2013 5:35:51 PM , Rating: 3
Hey buddy this argument is about 5 years too late. We've spoken about Iraq and Bush until we were blue in the face.

I will not allow you to further deflect this conversation away from Obama and continue with this lame Bush obsession.

Again, criticism of Obama is NOT a defense of Bush. When you're ready to discuss what's happening today, I'll be here.

RE: Damage control
By ven1ger on 5/16/2013 5:49:20 PM , Rating: 1
To Quote:

Sounds like a personal problem. The door is ------------> way Reclaimer.

RE: Damage control
By Ammohunt on 5/16/2013 8:57:26 PM , Rating: 1
Just because our lawmakers voted going to war against a sovereign nation because of hyped up and faked intelligence, does not make it legal in the eyes of the world body.

I see because you are a "World" citizen and not a citizen of the US? I personally can a rats ass what the "World body" thinks when it comes to American interests abroad. The UN is antagonistic to freedom and of course they were against the Iraq war because UN higher ups were enriching themselves with the oil for food scheme.

RE: Damage control
By ven1ger on 5/16/2013 10:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
So Cheney and his cronies aka Halliburton didn't get rich off the war with Iraq? So it's okay if our elected leaders and friends enrich themselves off the blood of Americans and Iraqis who had nothing to do with 9/11. Glad to see how you're not such a hypocrite.

By the same reasoning if Iran or North Korea bombs the US because they believe that the US is a threat to them, then it'd be legal because their government voted to bomb the US. Legally, Iran or North Korea's government is in the clear. Guess no such thing as respecting anyone's sovereignty anymore as we may as well act as the terrorists that we claim to be against, in the eyes of other countries we are looking like terrorists ourselves. Why do you think that the Taliban and others like them come from it is from those that think the US and other Western countries are terrorists.

RE: Damage control
By Reclaimer77 on 5/17/2013 1:14:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah let's just spend all our time debating Iraq and not what the current President is doing?

By the same reasoning if Iran or North Korea bombs the US because they believe that the US is a threat to them, then it'd be legal because their government voted to bomb the US.

Why do you insist on using "legal" for actions such as this? There's no law that Iran or North Korea is bound to, that states they cannot bomb the US. Just as there was no "law" stating we couldn't properly declare war on Iraq.

Curious that you're so obsessed with legality when it comes to wars, yet are such a defender of Obama. Who actually didn't so much as consult Congress when he decided to invade Libya. Yeeeah, I believe that was, wait for it, ILLEGAL!

And please stop being ignorant. Iraq was under sanctions, which they were breaking on a daily basis, from the first war in which they lost. Remember Saddam constantly violating the No-Fly Zone and firing on allied aircraft? Well maybe not, you're probably too young. But I digress, calling Iraq "sovereign" is about as accurate as the rest of your straw men.

RE: Damage control
By ven1ger on 5/17/2013 3:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
Okay old fart, you want to call me a kid then that would make you about 90 years old, but considering that your memory is failing you. You claim the Iraq invasion was technically legal because our gov't voted for it. Well if another nation's gov't votes to bomb or do harm to some other nation then I guess it is technically legal, right?

I guess, I should maybe call you Chicken Little, everytime something with Obama comes up, you start screaming, we're going to hell because the black man in the White House is going to bring down damnation on us all. Well Chicken Little, if you memory hasn't failed you as yet, we did not invade Libya, we bombed them, and yes he failed to seek congressional approval after 90 days of bombings but if I remember correctly a lot of the war hawks wanted to put boots on the ground and thought Obama wasn't doing enough, and generally the war hawks are more on the Republican side of the coin. Considering that they were Nato planes, I'd say that it was UN sanctioned, and no American lives lost, I think. A lot better than an illegal war (but then you get mixed up between legal and illegal) with Iraq.

Straw men now...come on Chicken Little, the invasion of Iraq was not because of them violating the No-Fly Zone, it was pictures of mushroom clouds, the guarantee that WMDs would be found, the links to Al-Qaeda, talk about setting up straw men, you do know what that means right? You claiming that we invaded Iraq because of violation of a No-Fly Zone or firing on allied aircraft is an example of creating straw men. If we're to believe you, then invading Iraq with the lost of thousands of American lives, tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands maimed if you include Iraqi citizens, were worth the invasion because of firing on allied aircraft in which no American lives were lost then you are a nutjob that is willing to make up any reason to bolster your position.

Btw, thought you were done talking about Bush. Please, stay relevant. Anyway, I think I had enough giving you lessons on history, nutjobs like you work best in a vacuum when you can rail all about big bad Obama but as soon as the facts get in the way, you get your panties all in a bunch. You don't want to discuss, you want to rant, even others that try to present a different take you jump all over them just because they don't see Obama as the evil tyrant you like to believe.

I'm done with you on this thread. Unlike you I keep my word. And I'm much too busy and bored to keep following your twisted logic and revisionist history.

RE: Damage control
By Ammohunt on 5/17/2013 1:44:03 PM , Rating: 1
Halliburton fulfilled a need for services associated with the war there were no other companies at the time that could do the job. obviously Dick Cheney or whomever is going to stick with what he was familiar with rather than take a risk with an unknown that's human nature. The idea of some type of conspiracy between Halliburton and Dick Cheney is so much leftist tin foil hat nonsense.

By the same reasoning if Iran or North Korea bombs the US because they believe that the US is a threat to them, then it'd be legal because their government voted to bomb the US.

Dumb analogy, we have never made threats to either nation or their allies without a previous provocation. Not to mention we are still technically at war with north Korea so we don't need a formal declaration of war its already there. Iran is parnoid unstable country run by aggressive nuts and based on your above arguments you would have not had any issue with germanys invasion of poland during the second word war…how many times do you have to hear people state that they wish Hitler was dealt with earlier rather than later. Your last name must be Chamberlain.

Why do you think that the Taliban and others like them come from it is from those that think the US and other Western countries are terrorists.

Having first hand experince with arabs and islamic culture I know exactly why the Taliban hate us. Its primarily because their culture spawned from their religion is completely and utterly antagonistic to freedom and liberty; the simple concept of basic human rights not derived from allah is offensive to them. in other words they are primitive screw heads if they can’t evolve their ideas then they will exterminate themselves.

RE: Damage control
By mikeyD95125 on 5/17/2013 9:52:08 AM , Rating: 2
I personally can a rats ass what the "World body" thinks when it comes to American interests abroad.

Aye seems to be a theme among us. We employ international law when it is politically advantageous and ignore it when it isn't.

The day I realized politics wasn't about doing the right thing was a sad day.

RE: Damage control
By Mint on 5/16/2013 6:15:35 PM , Rating: 2
Look I get your have issues with Bush. Hell, we all did. But it's honestly time to put that aside. It's 2013 and he's been out of power for five years.
It's not just Bush. A central tenet of GOP strategy (and Fox News) was and remains to scare the public sh1tless about terrorism ever since 9/11, and furthermore anyone who opposes measures that superficially help combat terrorism is a traitor, weak willed, unfit to lead the country, etc. It's a strategy that helped Bush beat Kerry, and it fit well with the "Obama is a Muslim" lies as well.

If Obama ran a platform against the Patriot Act, you really think he'd win? Please, it would be a piece of cake to tar him as a terrorist-loving Muslim. How would the Boston bombings have been viewed with the Patriot Act unrenewed? People would be putting the victims' blood on his hand.

Yes, most Dems supported the Patriot Act and its renewal, but it was not nearly as unanimously as the GOP, and most politicians are almost by definition lemmings that flow with popular opinion. The latter is the root of the problem.

Bush and Fox News did long term damage to the psyche of Americans. No longer did they think a risking a few lives were acceptable to preserve privacy.

RE: Damage control
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2013 8:36:12 PM , Rating: 3
If Obama ran a platform against the Patriot Act, you really think he'd win?

Wtf man, he got ELECTED on that platform in the first place. Just go back and read his campaign promises!! He won in a landslide based on a platform of reversing the policies of Bush! Specifically on the anti-terrorism and foreign war side.

I'm so sick of this, where do you guys come up with this crap? Sitting here discussing Bush as if it's relevant still?

Bush and Fox News did long term damage to the psyche of Americans.

Nah I think people like you and your willful ignorance are doing a good job of that.

RE: Damage control
By FITCamaro on 5/17/2013 5:30:45 AM , Rating: 3
Lol. Either some of these guys are young and are just listening to their idiot professors. Or they're incredibly stupid with very short memories.

As you said, that was EXACTLY the platform Obama ran on in 2008. And the youthful idiots fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

RE: Damage control
By Mint on 5/17/2013 8:48:46 AM , Rating: 2
He made no promise to scrap the Patriot Act. He said some vague nonsense about increasing oversight, i.e. politispeak for minimal action.
The Leahy-Paul amendment never got through Congress, so ultimately Obama's only option was to ditch the Patriot Act entirely or keep it. He never campaigned to do the former.

Yeah, he crumpled on Guantanamo, but that's ultimately unrelated to the surveillance/privacy debate.

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