WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced Friday that it is toughening its guidelines for subpoenaing reporters' phone records.
The changes follow disclosures that the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed almost two months of telephone records for 21 phone lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press and secretly used a warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist.
President Obama ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to review the Justice Department's policy on obtaining such material and set Friday as the deadline.
In announcing the changes, the Justice Department said it will create a news media review committee to advise officials.
Under one change, the government must give advance notice to the news media about subpoena requests for reporters' phone records unless the attorney general determines that "for compelling reasons," such notice would pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.
In another change, the government will issue search warrants directed at a reporter's email only when that member of the news media is the focus of a criminal investigation for conduct not connected to ordinary newsgathering activities.