The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of four New York Times reporters spanning nearly four months in 2017 as part of a leak investigation, the Biden administration disclosed on Wednesday.
It was the latest in a series of revelations about the Trump administration secretly obtaining reporters’ communications records in an effort to uncover their sources. Last month, the Biden Justice Department disclosed Trump-era seizures of the phone logs of reporters who work for The Washington Post and the phone and email logs for a CNN reporter.
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, condemned the action by the Trump administration.
“Seizing the phone records of journalists profoundly undermines press freedom,” he said in a statement. “It threatens to silence the sources we depend on to provide the public with essential information about what the government is doing.”
Last month, after the disclosures about the seizures of communications records involving Post and CNN reporters, President Biden said he would not allow the department to take such a step during his administration, calling it “simply, simply wrong.”