Just The News: Attorney General Merrick Garland is acting like a hypocrite as his Justice Department weaponizes the law to target a media organization critical of the Biden administration, according to the lawyers for a journalist who’s been the subject of a sweeping government probe.
“Your Justice Department’s outrageous and illegal abuses to journalists critical of the current administration, who lawfully gathered information to report to the public on a matter of public interest, have all occurred on your watch,” wrote attorneys Chas Short and Paul Calli, who represent investigative journalist and Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, in a letter to Garland. “Your DOJ acted in contravention of your sanctimonious pronouncements and in violation of the Privacy Protection Act, DOJ’s regulations for obtaining information from the news media, and DOJ directives.”
“As a result of your refusal to apply your own ‘standards,'” they continued, “prominent journalists, scholars, and media watchdogs have assailed the actions of your DOJ.”
The newly penned letter comes as the Justice Department, especially the FBI, continues to be scrutinized for what legal experts have described as the use of unnecessary, strong-arm tactics against political opponents and the weaponization of the federal government against critics of the Biden administration — especially former President Donald Trump and his allies.
However, this criticism has extended beyond the targeting of the 45th president’s inner circle to the targeting of the press.
In their letter, Short and Calli noted Garland announced in a July 2021 memo that a “free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy” and therefore his Justice Department “will no longer use compulsory legal process” to obtain records and information from journalists “acting within the scope of newsgathering activities.”
Garland also said in his memo that the Justice Department will “examine procedures used to safeguard” journalists’ records and information obtained by “compulsory legal process” and develop ways to appropriately return or destroy them.
Despite Garland’s memo, however, the Justice Department conducted an investigation that involved raiding O’Keefe’s home and seizing nearly 200,000 Project Veritas documents through secret surveillance. more here