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Obama: ‘Journalists Should Not Be at Legal Risk for Doing their Jobs’

President Obama spoke this afternoon at the National Defense University. The bulk of the speech was focused on national security, but for a few minutes, the President weighed in on the investigations the Justice Department has conducted involving journalists, including Fox News correspondent James Rosen and the Associated Press.

Obama says that Attorney General Holder has agreed to review the guidelines and talk to media outlets, and will report back to the President in July.

“I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable,” Obama said, adding that “Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.”

The full text of his comments on the press are after the jump.

As Commander-in Chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field. To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information. But a free press is also essential for our democracy. I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.

Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law. That is why I have called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government over-reach. I have raised these issues with the Attorney General, who shares my concern. So he has agreed to review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters, and will convene a group of media organizations to hear their concerns as part of that review. And I have directed the Attorney General to report back to me by July 12th.

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