Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with representatives from top news organizations on Monday at the Department of Justice to discuss the agency's review of its internal guidelines for issuing subpoenas and search warrants to journalists.
The group, dubbed the News Media Dialogue Group, was first convened in 2014 when the Justice Department changed its internal guidelines for the first time since the 1980s. The subsequent change in guidelines in early 2015 was sparked by the seizure of Associated Press and Fox News journalists' emails and phones in 2013.
According to a readout provided to the Washington Examiner by Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, and USA Today each had a representative at the meeting.
Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, was also in attendance. Brown was at the helm of the nonprofit when it helped to organize the first meeting on internal guidelines years ago.
"The guidelines were carefully crafted and vetted by career prosecutors and nonpolitical personnel, and have understood them to be working well," Jenn Topper, communications director at the Reporters Committee told the Washington Examiner ahead of the meeting.
The readout states that Rosenstein told the group that the department's review of the policies is still in the beginning phases, and that he was also unable to tell them when the review would be completed.
Both sides are set to meet again during the continuing review process, the Justice Department said.
Under current guidelines, when subpoenaing a member of the press, the Justice Department must go through additional levels of review. First, the attorney general must authorize the subpoena, and second, the Justice Department's Criminal Division must be consulted to determine if the person is a "member of the news media" partaking in "newsgathering activities."
In August, the Justice Department said it was reviewing the guidelines. According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein, the review is a means to crackdown on unauthorized leaks of classified information and not with the intention of jailing more journalists.