The Biden administration’s effort to establish itself as a committed champion of press freedom is facing new doubts because of the Justice Department’s aggressive legal tactics against a conservative provocateur known for his hidden-camera video stings.
A predawn FBI raid last weekend against Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and similar raids on some of his associates are prompting alarm from some First Amendment advocates, who contend that prosecutors appear to have run roughshod over Justice Department media policies and a federal law protecting journalists.
The FBI issued a subpoena demanding U.S. newspaper giant Gannett provide agents with information to track down readers of a USA Today story about a suspect in a child pornography case who fatally shot two FBI agents in February.
The subpoena, served on the company in April, came to light this week after the media company filed documents in federal court asking a judge to quash the subpoena. The Justice Department’s actions were immediately condemned by press freedom advocates.
Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent, was dismissed over text messages sent to a colleague that criticized President Trump. Strzok filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the government over his firing, claiming the government violated his First and Fifth Amendment rights.