The Justice Department is revising its rules for obtaining records from the news media in leak investigations, promising that in most instances the government will notify news organizations beforehand of its intention to do so.
The revised procedures are designed to give news organizations an opportunity to challenge any subpoenas or search warrants in federal court.
The regulation follows disclosures that the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed almost two months’ worth of telephone records for 21 phone lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press.
Separately, the department secretly used a search warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist.
The episodes, which involved leaks of classified material, prompted widespread criticism, and Attorney General Eric Holder promised to toughen his department’s guidelines for such investigations.