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Grassley: “It’s important to protect the First Amendment rights of reporters”

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley
Iowa Senator Charles Grassley
WASHINGTON – Senator Charles Grassley remarked Thursday on the rights of reporters and the disclosure of confidential sources.

Grassley reported that last week the Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation to protect the rights of reporters, while seeking to balance legitimate law enforcement efforts to combat violent crime, terrorism and espionage.

The Judiciary Committee considered similar legislation in 2009. “On one hand, reporters help expose waste, fraud and abuse, and ensure that we have an informed citizenry,” Grassley said. “On the other hand, we must be certain that efforts to be transparent don’t hinder national security initiatives.

“High profile leaks involving national security and intelligence gathering have brought a great deal of attention to this issue. In addition, because of the Justice Department’s highly publicized monitoring of a reporter’s activities, the department announced new internal guidelines regarding how and when it will seek to force a reporter to disclose a confidential source.

“These recent developments made it even more important to have a thorough debate on this issue.

“I voted for the Free Flow of Information Act, but I also supported several amendments to address national security concerns and the scope of the bill. It’s important to protect the First Amendment rights of reporters and ensure they can continue to play a vital role in holding the government to account. I look forward to continuing the conversation on this issue once the full Senate considers the bill.”

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