The administration has pushed back on claims that it’s falling short of its lofty transparency promises. Psaki has said that reporters don’t need to be sat on “embroidered cushions” in a formal setting to ask questions, with Biden fielding impromptu queries in the course of his daily business more often than any president since Bill Clinton; press officials also note that Biden has both toured the country and used social media to share his policies, chatting with influencers (Olivia Rodrigo, Bill Nye the Science Guy) to meet young voters where they are (which is not watching cable news). Still, critics point out that the latter aren’t hard journalistic settings, and that informal Q&As are often too brief for rigorous scrutiny, with Biden able to dodge questions he doesn’t want to field, or drop a hot talking point and run.
A special Customs and Border Protection unit used sensitive government databases intended to track terrorists to investigate as many as 20 U.S.-based journalists, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter, according to a federal watchdog.
Yahoo News, which published an extensive report on the investigation, also found that the unit, the Counter Network Division, queried records of congressional staffers and perhaps members of Congress. . . .
“We are deeply concerned about this apparent abuse of power,” Lauren Easton, AP’s director of media relations, said in a statement. “This appears to be an example of journalists being targeted for simply doing their jobs, which is a violation of the First Amendment.”
A former federal judge was appointed Wednesday to ensure no First Amendment protections or attorney-client privileges are violated in the review of materials seized by U.S. law enforcement authorities from individuals connected with the conservative group Project Veritas.
The ruling was a victory, at least for now, for the Biden administration, which has pursued an effort to prosecute Mr. Assange begun under the Trump administration. Mr. Assange will seek to appeal the decision to Britain’s Supreme Court, according to his legal team.
The Justice Department’s decision to charge Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act in connection with obtaining and publishing secret government documents has raised novel First Amendment issues and alarmed advocates of media freedom. But because he has been fighting extradition, those questions have not been litigated and his transfer to the United States could set off a momentous constitutional battle.
Esper, 57, a West Point graduate and Gulf war veteran, said in a statement that he had waited for six months for the review process to play out but found “my unclassified manuscript arbitrarily redacted without clearly being told why”.
“I am more than disappointed the current administration is infringing on my first amendment constitutional rights. And it is with regret that legal recourse is the only path now available for me to tell my full story to the American people,” he said.