The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently removed some language in its policy manual relating to freedom of the press and racial manipulation as part of the broader overhaul of the document.
According to BuzzFeed News, on Sunday Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ordered a review of the document, which had not been thoroughly updated since 1997.
“The purpose of that review is to identify redundant sections and language, areas that required greater clarity, and any content that needed to be added to help Department attorneys perform core prosecutorial functions,” DOJ spokesman Ian Prior said.
“The (manual) is not meant to be an exhaustive list of constitutional rights, statutory law, regulatory law, or generalized principles of our legal system,” he added.
“It is also not the primary source of guidance on employment and administrative matters, among others.”
The media outlet also compared some of the updated language with the previous version listed on the Internet Archive.
The latest version replaces a passage that explains the need to meet the requirements of a free press and public trials with new language about balancing “the right of the public to have access to information about the Department of Justice.”
Also, another section lays out DOJ policy on whistleblowers, including a reminder that it is illegal to share classified information with someone not authorized to receive it.
The White House administration is attempting to contain government leaks since President Donald Trump took office. Trump has spoken against former FBI Director James Comey in recent weeks, accusing him of committing a crime by leaking classified memos.
Comey has insisted his decision to release the memos he wrote about his interactions with the president does not qualify as a leak.
BuzzFeed also reported that in addition to altering its media policies, the DOJ manual also includes an updated section on civil rights. However, there are no longer direct references to redistricting or racial gerrymandering.