The Justice Department may have violated the First Amendment when it secretly obtained the phone records of the Associated Press in an apparent bid to ferret out its sources on a terrorism story, according to civil-rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
"I’m very concerned about that,'' Dershowitz told "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Newsmax TV.
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"I mean, yes, the government has the right to investigate who might have leaked this classified information but they have to do it with a sensitivity toward the First Amendment right not only of newspapers and of newsgathering sources, but also of the readers.''
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The renowned Harvard Law professor said the Supreme Court had determined that the same rules don’t apply to news operations as they do to ordinary businesses when it comes to freedom of the press.
"The parameters of the First Amendment extend to the business of newsgathering differently than they do to other businesses,'' he said.
"Obviously, I want to find out more about it and what the justification is. But there’s almost never a justification for pervasive monitoring of how journalists gather news.
"They have to have much more precise targeting of particular leaks. So I’m concerned about it.''
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