New ICE Policy on Compulsory Investigative Tools


On June 13, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) released a new policy about the use of compulsory investigative tools to obtain information or records from members of the news media. The policy sets limits on when ICE can use investigative tools like administrative or judicial subpoenas to obtain information from or about journalists. Congress directed ICE to create the policy following reports that ICE tried to use compulsory investigative tools to obtain confidential source information from Buzzfeed. This Policy is similar to the Department Of Justice’s (DOJ) policy addressing the same subject matter from July 2021, though ICE’s policy is overall less protective because ICE retains some agency discretion that DOJ didn’t. While the policy is a positive step forward, it is only a policy that can be easily bypassed or changed by the agency. Congress should protect the free and independent press by passing legislation, like the PRESS Act, which would establish uniform, reasonable ground rules for when the government can obtain confidential source information from the media and their third-party service providers.  Read more.

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