On Thursday, CNN reported that the Justice Department, under former President Donald Trump, secretly collected email and phone records from a CNN reporter, without notifying either the reporter or the news organization.
"The Justice Department informed CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, in a May 13 letter, that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records covering two months, between June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2017," reported Jeremy Herb and Jessica Schneider. "The letter listed phone numbers for Starr's Pentagon extension, the CNN Pentagon booth phone number and her home and cell phones, as well as Starr's work and personal email accounts."
"The seizure of Starr's records is the third disclosure in as many weeks where the Trump administration used its Justice Department to secretly obtain communications of journalists or to expose the identity of critics of former President Donald Trump's allies," continued the report.
Starr reportedly was not the target of a criminal investigation.
"CNN strongly condemns the secret collection of any aspect of a journalist's correspondence, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment," CNN President Jeff Zucker said in a statement. "We are asking for an immediate meeting with the Justice Department for an explanation."
Under Trump, the Justice Department was frequently controversial for its attitude towards the press. At his confirmation hearing, Attorney General William Barr stumbled over a question about whether he would use the DOJ to imprison journalists.