The Obama administration asked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Wednesday morning to reintroduce legislation that would help reporters protect the identity of their sources from federal officials, a White House official told The Huffington Post.
The scope of the bill and how effective it would be remains unclear, however, given prior administration opposition to a “reporter shield” law.
The request is opportunistically timed, coming just days after it was revealed that the Department of Justice had subpoenaed telephone records of 20 AP phone lines and more than 100 reporters and editors. The White House has faced heavy criticism for the subpoena, though the president has said that he was unaware of it and Attorney General Eric Holder said that he had recused himself from the investigation.
While the timing absolutely can’t be ignored, it’s hard for us not to get behind any effort to further protect reporters and their sources from federal prosecution. Still, if the Obama Administration was hoping to save face with a new reporter shield law, we suspect we aren’t the only ones who think this is too little too late.