“The United States Secret Service — the agency that protects the president, foreign dignitaries, and various government officials, among other critical duties — has assumed an expanded new power that has Washington journalists up in arms,” Lloyd Grove reported for the Daily Beast.
“The law enforcement agency — whose once-pristine reputation has been tarnished in recent years by scandal, congressional investigations and, more to the point, aggressive investigative reporting — is for the first time ever running background checks on thousands of journalists who want to attend this summer’s Republican and Democratic Party nominating conventions.
“Journalists who don’t pass muster — in what several complain is an inscrutable security screening process for which there are no plainly established criteria, and from which there is no appeal — will be denied credentials.
“ ‘I personally think it’s the government deciding who can and can’t be a journalist, and I don’t think the First Amendment allows that,’ said Newark Star-Ledger Washington correspondent Jonathan D. Salant, a member and former chairman of the Standing Committee of Correspondents, the organization which represents the interests of the four media galleries on Capitol Hill (daily press, periodical press, photographers and broadcasters) and has run the credentialing process for political conventions — without Secret Service interference — since 1912. . . .”