White House Pushes for Media Shield Law

President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. appeared together at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Wednesday morning in Washington. (Drew Angerer for The New York Times)

[The New York Times]

President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. appeared together at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Wednesday morning in Washington. (Drew Angerer for The New York Times)
President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. appeared together at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Wednesday morning in Washington. (Drew Angerer for The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration sought on Wednesday to revive legislation that would provide greater protections to reporters from penalties for refusing to identify confidential sources, and that would enable journalists to ask a federal judge to quash subpoenas for their phone records, a White House official said.

The official said that President Obama’s Senate liaison, Ed Pagano, called Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who is a chief proponent of a so-called media shield law, on Wednesday morning and asked him to reintroduce a bill that he had pushed in 2009. Called the Free Flow of Information Act, the bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan 15-to-4 vote in December 2009. But while it was awaiting a floor vote, a furor over leaking arose after WikiLeaks began publishing archives of secret government documents, and the bill never received a vote.

The new push comes as the Obama administration has come under fire from both parties amid the disclosure this week that the Justice Department, as part of a leak investigation, secretly used a subpoena earlier this year to obtain a broad swath of calling records involving Associated Press reporters and editors.

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