WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is to revise its policies for dealing with news reporters during the course of leak investigations following recent criticism from media organizations, a department official said on Friday.
Under the new guidelines, which will go into effect almost immediately, search warrants will not be sought against journalists carrying out "ordinary news-gathering activities," the official said.
In another key move, the Justice Department will now, in most instances, notify news organizations in advance if a subpoena is being sought to obtain phone records.
In two recent high profile cases that prompted the criticism, prosecutors obtained a warrant in order to search Fox News correspondent James Rosen's emails. He was named a "co-conspirator" in a federal leaks probe involving his reporting on North Korea.
In the other case, the Justice Department seized Associated Press phone records without prior notification as part of a probe into leaks about a 2012 Yemen-based plot to bomb a U.S. airliner.
A detailed report is to be issued at 3 p.m. on Friday. Attorney General Eric Holder met with President Barack Obama in the White House earlier on Friday to present the report. On May 23, Obama ordered Holder to review the department's guidelines.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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