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Justice Department has new media monitoring program

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Attorney General Eric Holder told a Senate Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department has new guidelines on how it "monitors" the media. Holder told the committee he would have hoped that he could have presented these guidelines but there "was a glitch towards the end" and so we're going to have to wait and see how this government-monitors-of-free speech thing works.

[Politico: Holder: New media guidelines in weeks]

But rest assured, since he wasn't ready to present the committee with the media monitoring system, he said:

I will say that in spite of the fact that they are not yet issued, we are working under them as if they were in place and we are also looking for people for the board that we are putting together as part of the review process.

The board in question is called the "media review committee" that reviews the people doing the reviewing and another board called "media dialogue group" made up of "outsiders" who come in from time to time to review the committee reviewing the reviewers and in the process have a "dialogue". But none of these boards are in place yet, that's okay. The department is proceeding as though everything is set up and they can go ahead and monitor away.

This is the reform effort after the non-scandal scandals of the Justice Department's investigation of James Rosen from enemy of the state news service Fox News. Holder had gone public to accuse Rosen of being a criminal even though he wasn't ever charged with anything. The Justice Department monitored, followed, tapped into his phone, computer, you know, criminal investigation stuff.

Then the department went ahead and investigated a whole news service (Associated Press) by tapping into all their phone calls. Why? Oh, I forgot, had to be some good reason. At the time Holder didn't even know his department was doing all this (that's what he said) and so now we have reform.

Nothing to worry about here, now run along.

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