Bush Admin: Don't Protect Bloggers

The Bush administration is none too happy with legislation that is making its way through Congress which could shield many news gatherers from revealing their confidential sources, calling it a security risk.

The Free Flow of Information Act protects many, including bloggers, from prosecution for refusing to reveal their sources. The Justice Department says the law could hamper criminal investigations and pose a risk to national security.

Such a law would make it much tougher for investigators and the government to jail those who refuse to identify their sources. Two recent high profile examples of this are the New York Times' Judith Miller and blogger Josh Wolf.


At a hearing Thursday, assistant attorney general for Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy Rachel brand called the law's definition of a journalist so broad that "it really includes anyone who wants to post something to the Web."

Similar laws exist in 49 states and Washington, DC however they do not shield journalists from federal prosecution. Congress has tried in the past to pass similar laws, but the Justice Department has successfully lobbied against it.

In some circumstances the law does not provide protection, such as when it involves criminal behavior, risks to national security, or the disclosure of trade secrets or personal information that could violate an existing law.

Supporters of the bill say it's less about protecting the journalist than the public's "right to know."

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