Mr. Speaker, over the last few years, numerous reporters in the United States have been subpoenaed about their confidential sources.

Law enforcement, namely prosecutors, hear about a story that a news reporter covers regarding scandals, corruption, crime, or coverups, and then has the reporter subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. The purpose of the grand jury investigation is to find out who gave such information to the reporter, with the goal to bring the confidential source before the grand jury to testify.

Most States protect journalists from having to reveal that source. However, there is no Federal law to shield the identity of confidential sources. The protection of the source's identity is important because, without such a guarantee, sources would be fearful of possible reprisals if they revealed the information. Thus, the public would never know about the information.

With a few exceptions, prosecutors should not depend on reporters and their sources to root out crime. If whistle-blowers and reporters are protected by a shield law, the public's right to know will be enhanced with the free flow of information.

And that's just the way it is.