A federal shield law is needed, but that alone won’t absolve Obama for secret subpoenas on journalists.
Embarrassed by revelations of his administration’s flagrant intrusion into press freedoms, President Obama last week sought to squelch the bad publicity with an announcement that he still supports long dormant legislation establishing a federal shield law.
The law, which would protect reporters from being forced to reveal confidential sources, is worth resuscitating. But it’s a tattered and inadequate fig leaf for the embattled president. The proposed law is riddled with loopholes, and it’s impossible to assess whether it would have prevented the Department of Justice from snooping through journalists’ phone records because administration officials have refused to discuss how they obtained subpoenas in secret.