Past administrations also have struggled to balance the media's First Amendment newsgathering rights against government interests in safeguarding national security secrets.
The order prevented executives from disclosing the government's efforts even to the executive editor, Dean Baquet, and other newsroom leaders, it said.
But she also said discussions with the Justice Department were still underway and that no new policy was ready to be announced. "I won't let that happen", Biden said at the time. "He's simply putting forth priorities and procedures, which then the Justice Department has to modify its protocols as a result". "I think he's saying the standards have to be higher". That tussle had begun during the Trump administration but had persisted under the Biden Justice Department, which ultimately moved to withdraw the gag order.
The Justice Department told the Times it obtained the phone records of four reporters - Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael S. Schmidt - from January 14 to April 30, 2017.
Psaki had previously said that DOJ would use the "Holder model" when investigating leaks to journalists - referring to Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder. The DOJ also attempted to obtain the reporters' email records.
But the period covered by the phone record seizure encompasses an April 2017 story from the four journalists that described the decision-making of then-FBI Director James Comey during the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and that referenced a classified document obtained by Russian hackers. His unusual July 2016 news conference, held at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and without Lynch or other leaders, marked an extraordinary departure from protocol.
President Biden had appeared to support ending the practice, and last month declared it "simply, simply wrong" after it emerged that the Trump administration secretly obtained 2017 records of a CNN correspondent. The Biden administration has already informed CNN and The Washington Post that the phone records and email logs of its reporters were secretly obtained previous year, a practice that President Biden said is "simply, simply wrong" and will not happen under his administration.
The Justice Department under former Attorney General Eric Holder announced revised guidelines for leak investigations, requiring additional levels of review before a journalist could be subpoenaed - though it did not end the practice.
But the department's ability to obtain those records under certain circumstances remained intact.