U.S. Justice Department Issues New Guidelines For How Government Can Investigate Journalists

By Julia Edwards

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department issued new guidelines on Wednesday regarding when the federal government can investigate journalists.

The new guidelines dictate that the attorney general, not simply a member of the Justice Department staff, must authorize probes into all "newsgathering activities," striking old language that applied only to "ordinary newsgathering activities," a Justice Department official said.

The change is a result of meetings between the Justice Department and members of the news media and comes in the wake of the department's probe into New York Times journalist James Risen in an attempt to identify one of his sources.

Risen was recently cleared from having to testify in a CIA leak case, removing the risk that he could have faced jail time if he refused to testify.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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