FBI demands info on readers of USA Today story about agents killed in child porn raid

The FBI is seeking personal information from readers who viewed a USA TODAY story on a Florida child pornography raid that left two agents dead on Feb. 2, 2021. AP Photo/Steven Senne, File
The FBI is seeking personal information from readers who viewed a USA TODAY story on a Florida child pornography raid that left two agents dead on Feb. 2, 2021. AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

The FBI is demanding that newspaper giant Gannett hand over identifying information on readers of a USA Today story about a suspect in a child porn case who killed two agents in February.

Federal investigators served the company with a subpoena in April seeking the IP addresses and phone numbers of the people who accessed a news article, between 8:03 a.m. and 8:38 a.m. on Feb. 2, about the Florida shooting that left two FBI agents dead and three others wounded.

The information sought by the feds, “relates to a federal criminal investigation being conducted by the FBI,” according to the subpoena.

Gannett, the publisher of the paper, fought back against the order in federal court on May 27, claiming the demand is unconstitutional and in violation of the Department of Justice’s policy for subpoenaing information from the press.

“A government demand for records that would identify specific individuals who read specific expressive materials, like the Subpoena at issue here, invades the First Amendment rights of both publisher and reader, and must be quashed accordingly,” Garnett lawyers wrote in the motion, made public Wednesday.

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Source: New York Post