Under pressure to address the seizure of phone logs from Associated Press journalists by the Department of Justice, President Obama during a press conference this Thursday said he had no regrets for prosecuting individuals responsible for leaking classified information, saying it was a matter of national security.
“I make no apologies and I don’t think the American people would expect me as commander-in-chief not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed,” he said during a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House.
“I also think it’s important to recognize that — you know, when we express concern about leaks at a time when I’ve still got 60,000 plus troops in Afghanistan and I’ve still got a whole bunch of intelligence officers around the world who are in risky situations in outposts that in some cases are as dangerous as the outpost in Benghazi, that part of my job is to make sure that we’re protecting what they do while still accommodating for the need for information,” the President went on to say.
The Associated Press, along with other media organizations, are in an uproar after it was revealed that the Department of Justice seized phone records of three AP bureaus in connection to an investigation of a leak from within the Obama Administration. The leak exposed details in regards to a foiled bomb plot in Yemen last year.
In light of the Administration’s aggressive effort to crack down on leaks, Obama added that an appropriate balance must be maintained in order to protect journalists and the freedom of the press.
On orders from the White House, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer announced this Wednesday that he will re-introduce the so-called “media shield” legislation that provides legal protections to journalists who are in the midst of investigations for stories.