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NY Times sues Ashcroft in leak inquiry

[JURIST] Seeking to prevent the Justice Department from obtaining records of telephone calls between two journalists and their confidential sources, the New York Times has filed a lawsuit against US Attorney General John Ashcroft. The Times alleges that as part of a probe seeking to identify government officials who may have leaked information to the newspaper, the DOJ seeking to acquire from third parties the phone records of two veteran Times reporters from the months immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Attorneys for the Times expressed concern over scope of the government's demands, claiming that the identities of dozens of confidential sources would be compromised, and that the intrusion into the journalist-source relationship constitutes a threat to First Amendment freedoms. AP has the full story.

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