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Biden DOJ Received Gag Order Preventing NYT from Notifying Journalists of Government Phone, Email Surveillance

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People line up for taxis across the street from the New York Times building in New York City. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

During the remaining weeks of the Trump administration and the beginning of the Biden administration, the Department of Justice (DOJ) attempted to seize the communication records of four New York Times reporters in a quest for their sources.

The Biden administration maintained the pursuit that Trump began and informed some top Times executives about the record-collection initiative. However, the Biden DOJ implemented a gag order prohibiting any public discussion of the matter, the New York Times reported Friday, citing the disclosure of one of its top attorneys David McCraw. The reporters in question were Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau, and Michael S. Schmidt.

The gag order also forbade the senior employees from revealing the government’s plans to capture the email logs to the executive editor, Dean Baquet, and other top officers at the publication.

McCraw said the reason he was permitted to go public with this information was because a federal court had eventually lifted the gag order. The DOJ had been in a dispute with Google, which operates the newspaper’s email system, over acquiring the email logs.

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